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The House Oversight Committee’s top Democrat on Tuesday grilled Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on whether the President is correct in claiming that a report issued by Horowitz’s office vindicated him in the federal probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

The short answer: no.

Pointing to a quote in which President Trump said he was “totally exonerated” by the IG report on how top FBI officials handled investigations during the campaign, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said, “My copy of your report must be missing a page, a few pages.”

“Did your investigation examine whether President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to impact the election, or whether the president obstructed an FBI investigation?” Cummings asked.

“Our report was focused on the Clinton email investigation, and the only place where it touches the Russia matter is with regard to the [FBI agents’] text messages and then the October decision about the Weiner laptop,” Horowitz replied.

Horowitz gave similar answers to Cummings’ questions citing quotes by Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani claiming that the report proved that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation was “totally discredited,” should end immediately, and was corrupt.

“We don’t address issues with regard to the special counsel,” he replied finally.

Giuliani himself acknowledged in an interview over the weekend that he doesn’t think the report exonerates Trump.

Watch the exchange between Cummings and Horowitz below.

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In a 100-plus-page decision knocking down Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship voter registration law, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson spent some two-dozen pages dismantling the testimonies offered by the so-called experts called by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to defend the law.

She said that “misleading evidence” and  “preconceived beliefs about this issue” were the basis of the testimony given by one member of President Trump’s now-defunct voter fraud commission, which Kobach once led. The author of a report Trump allies once touted as evidence of mass voter fraud offered estimates of Kansas non-citizen registration that were “individually flawed and wildly varied,” Robinson said. Additionally, the top researcher at an anti-immigration think tank who argued that the Kobach’s law did not affect voter turnout was not qualified to make such a conclusion, Robinson ruled, excluding large parts of his testimony.

Kobach — as part of a test an appeals court said the district judge should use to evaluate his voter law — needed to prove that voter fraud, and specifically non-citizen registration, was a “substantial” problem in Kansas. The experts he called appeared to be the best options he had to back that claim — and they fell well short of convincing the judge.

“The Court will not rely on extrapolated numbers from tiny sample sizes and otherwise flawed data,” she said.

Hans von Spakovsky

A Heritage Foundation scholar and an alum of George W. Bush’s Justice Department, Hans von Spakovsky was brought in to testify that the proof-of citizenship requirement was necessary in Kansas. Robinson said Monday that she gave his testimony little weight because it was “premised on several misleading and unsupported examples of non-citizen voter registration, mostly outside the State of Kansas.”

“His myriad misleading statements, coupled with his publicly stated preordained opinions about this subject matter, convinces the Court that Mr. von Spakovsky testified as an advocate and not as an objective expert witness,” she wrote.

She pointed out that von Spakovsky, during the proceedings, “could not identify any expert on the subject of non-citizen voter registration.”

He did nothing to verify a spreadsheet provided by a Kansas election official showing only 30 instances of non-citizen registration or attempted registration in a county in Kansas, Robinson said, that he used to back up his allegations.

“He later admitted during cross-examination that he had no personal knowledge as to whether or not any of these individuals had in fact falsely asserted U.S. citizenship when they became registered to vote and that he did not examine the facts of these individual cases,” the judge said.

She also picked apart other claims von Spakovsky made about voter fraud based on reports outside of Kansas, and knocked him for failing to correct or supplement his expert report when obvious flaws were pointed out to him during the proceedings.

“The record is replete with further evidence of Mr. von Spakovsky’s bias,” she said.

Jesse Richman

Old Dominion University associate professor Jesse Richman was offered by Kobach to provided a series of analyses alleging that tens of thousands of non-citizens were  registered to vote in Kansas. He previously authored a report alleging that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008, potentially swinging an entire state to President Obama, which spokespeople for President Trump later cited to back up his false claims of millions of illegal voters.

Robinson noted Richman’s methodology had previously been criticized by some 200 political scientists, while focusing on his claims about Kansas non-citizen voter registration. One estimation Richman provided, alleging 32,000 non-citizens registered to vote, was extrapolated from a survey of 14 reported non-citizens registrants.

“The first problem with Dr. Richman’s estimate is that the sample size is too small,” Robinson said, adding that Richman’s published findings about non-citizen voting can be accounted for entirely “by citizenship misreporting” and that his estimate also “suffers from registration overreporting.”

That and the other three estimates for non-citizen registration Richman provided, when “taken individually or as a whole,” were “flawed,” Robinson said.

“The Court finds Dr. Richman’s testimony and report about the methodology and basis for concluding that a statistically significant number of non-citizens have registered to vote in Kansas, are confusing, inconsistent, and methodologically flawed.”

Steven Camarota

Steven Camarota, the director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, had experience “limited to scholarship and reports that generally deal with immigration and citizenship issues,” Robinson wrote, “not election issues such as voter registration.”

Yet Kobach brought him in to testify on “voter registration statistics, and voter participation rates,” testimony Robinson ultimately excluded.

At the trial, he argued that the uptick in voter registration and turn out between the Kansas midterm elections in 2010 and 2014 showed that the law, which was implemented in 2013, did not make it harder to vote.

Robinson said Monday that Camarota was “not qualified to explain the reasons for the change in data between 2010 and 2014, or to insert assumptions into the record based on studies or academic literature regarding voter registration and turnout.”

“These are not his areas of expertise,” she said, ruling that his expertise was limited to his explanation of certain Census data.

“[H]e is not qualified as an expert in voter registration, voting trends, or election issues, so he is not qualified to opine on issues of causation.”

Read the judge’s opinion below:

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Democrats on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees used a Tuesday joint hearing on the Justice Department Inspector General’s report to take the Trump administration to task for the current crisis at the border, where thousands of immigrant children have been forcibly separated from their parents.

“Are we really going to sit here, 70 members of a Congress of the United States of America in 2018 and have a hearing that just repeats the hearings the Senate had yesterday on Hillary Clinton’s emails?” an outraged Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the ranking member on the Oversight Committee, asked his colleagues.

The hearing was slated as an opportunity to ask Inspector General Michael Horowitz about his 500-page report on the conduct of FBI officials during the 2016 election.

Before it even began, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, said he felt the need to discuss “a more immediate” issue: “the pictures of immigrant children ripped from their parents at the border.”

“We should not put children in cages,” Nadler said, before Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) cut him off and called the hearing into regular order. Capitol Police removed a few protesters who broke into chants of “families belong together” and the hearing got underway.

In a firey opening statement, Gowdy railed against former FBI Director James Comey, saying he and he alone decided “which DOJ policies to follow and which to ignore,” and attacking FBI agents and federal prosecutors for prejudging the outcome of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Cummings followed up by saying that GOP lawmakers are only dissatisfied with the IG report’s conclusions because “the only answer [they] will accept is that Hillary Clinton must be guilty.”

The Maryland Democrat then went after Congress for continuing to harp on issues from the 2016 election rather than address “the key moral and ethical issue of the day, which is the president’s new policy to separate children from their families.”

Since late April, over 2,000 immigrant children have been separated from their parents and placed into camps along the U.S.-Mexico border thanks to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy forcing all adults who cross the border illegally into immediate detention.

Referring to the children’s facilities, where many are sleeping in cages, as “internment camps,” Cummings said the U.S. is “so much better than that.”

“This was a policy invented and executed by President Donald Trump,” Cummings said, before turning to his Republican colleagues.

“Mr. Chairman, we need you,” Cummings continued. “Those children need you. And I’m talking directly to my Republican colleagues. We need you to stand up to President Trump. We need you to join us in telling him that we reject this mean policy. We need you to tell him to abandon his policy. We need you to remind him that this is the United States of America and it is a great country. And we need you to stand up for those children.”

This pattern repeated throughout much of the day-long hearing. Democratic lawmakers devoted portions of their allotted time to decrying the situation at the border, while their Republican colleagues remained focused on the report’s fine print. Horowitz spent significant periods sitting quietly as representatives on each side made their points.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) said she was “tired of this discussion” about the report, saying the Oversight Committee on which she sits should instead “be using tax dollars to try to figure out why the President of the United States of America, his administration, are doing things that are so un-American as to rip children and babies from the hands and the hearts of their parents and putting them in cages.”

Watson Coleman added that “arrogant, dismissive” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen “has not a heart in her.”

Later in the hearing, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), who sits on both the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, called the day’s events “maddening.”

“I don’t know if colleagues are checking your emails or voicemails or Twitter feed,” Swalwell said. “People aren’t talking about the god damn [Clinton] emails. They are not. They are talking about kids separated from their mom and their dad.”

When Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) broke in to say that the GOP was introducing a bill this week to address family situation, Swalwell replied that it was a “partisan bill without Democratic support.”

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A federal judge on Monday ruled that Kansas’ proof of citizenship voter registration requirement was a violation of the Constitution as well as the National Voter Registration Act.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson had in previous orders temporarily blocked the requirement, which was championed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Robinson on Monday handed down her decision on merits of the case, which went to trial earlier this year.

Her 100-plus page opinion also knocked Kobach, who defended the law himself in court, for his “history of non-compliance with this Court’s orders,” and imposed “sanctions responsive to Defendant’s repeated and flagrant violations of discovery and disclosure rules.” She ordered he take six hours of legal ed classes.

The case was a consolidation of two lawsuits: one from a college student alleging a constitutional violation, and the other an ACLU challenge on behalf of individual voters as well the Kansas League of Women Voters that focused on the National Voter Registration Act claim.

Robinson said that evidence brought by the League of Women Voters, which argued the requirement complicated its voter registration drives, led her to conclude “that tens of thousands of eligible citizens were blocked from registration before this Court’s preliminary injunction, and that the process of completing the registration process was burdensome for them.”

The judge also went through the testimonies of the individual Kansans who had challenged the law, arguing that their experiences backed up the testimony of the League of Women Voters, as well as the challengers’ expert witnesses, in illustrating the “concerns about the barriers to registration after the DPOC [documentary proof of citizenship] law became effective.”

Kansas had put forth a voter who had gone through a hearing process the state set up for individuals who claimed to have been unable to find any of the documents meeting the registration citizenship requirement. Robinson on Monday said that the woman, Jo French, had actually contradicted Kansas’ position in her testimony, which showed “the lengthy and burdensome process of registering to vote without a citizenship document.”

Robinson, in her decision Monday, took into account the test previously handed down by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals outlining what Kansas would have to prove for the requirement to be legally permissible. The first part of the test was whether there was a “substantial” number of non-citizens registering under the old system of registrants signing an affidavit attesting to their eligibility, and here Robinson said that she found “no credible evidence that a substantial number of noncitizens registered to vote under the attestation regime.” She said that analysis put forward by Kansas expert witness Hans von Spakovsky was likely based on “misleading evidence, and largely based on his preconceived beliefs about this issue, which has led to his aggressive public advocacy of stricter proof-of-citizenship laws.”

She also said that 39 cases of confirmed noncitizen registrants put forward by the state were not substantial “when compared to the total number of registered voters, the total number of noncitizens in Kansas, or the number of applicants on the suspense/cancellation list as of March 2016.”

“Defendant insists that these numbers are just ‘the tip of the iceberg.’ This trial was his opportunity to produce credible evidence of that iceberg, but he failed to do so,” Robinson said.

The second part of the appeals court’s test was whether “‘nothing less than DPOC is sufficient to meet’ Kansas’s NVRA eligibility-assessment and registration duties,” Robinson wrote. Robinson cited arguments by the challengers that better training would be sufficient to cut down on non-citizens inadvertently being registered to vote, as well as to testimony by the challengers’ experts that many of the non-citizen registrations cited by the state appeared to have been due to administrative error.

“If most noncitizen registrations are due to mistake or administrative error, as opposed to intentional fraud, that fact shapes the best method for enforcing the citizenship requirement,” Robsinson said, later arguing that “More consistent, centralized training for county clerks” would be a ” less burdensome way,” among others discussed in the case, “to ensure to the best of their abilities that noncitizens do not inadvertently end up on the voter rolls.”

Kobach indicated during the proceedings that he would appeal a district court loss to the appeals court, and to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Robinson’s decision recounted the number of procedural issues Kobach and his legal team ran into over the course of the proceedings, which included his failed attempt to introduce new internal state voter registration statistics on the eve of the trial, instead of during the typical discovery process, as well as a rules he broke in introducing various witness testimonies.

She said that Kobach showed “a pattern and practice” of “flaunting disclosure and discovery rules that are designed to prevent prejudice and surprise at
trial,” prompting her to impose sanctions on him — specifically six hours of legal education, beyond those required by his law license, focusing on trial procedure.

“It is not clear to the Court whether Defendant repeatedly failed to meet his disclosure obligations intentionally or due to his unfamiliarity with the federal rules. Therefore, the Court finds that an additional sanction is appropriate in the form of Continuing Legal Education,” she said. “Defendant chose to represent his own office in this matter, and as such, had a duty to familiarize himself with the governing rules of procedure, and to ensure as the lead attorney on this case that his discovery obligations were satisfied despite his many duties as a busy public servant. ”

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A House Intelligence Committee Democrat is lashing out at the panel’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), following reports that Nunes withheld sensitive information from his Democratic colleagues in the run-up to the 2016 election.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) on Monday labeled Nunes “the President’s fixer in Congress.”

The harsh condemnation comes days after the California Republican divulged that “the House Intelligence Committee” received a September 2016 tip from FBI agents regarding the discovery of a new trove of emails related to the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server. Nunes apparently never shared this information with top Democrats on his own panel.

“From the moment that FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee in March 2017 that a criminal and counterintelligence investigation of Trump-Russia collusion was under way, Devin Nunes has worked as the President’s fixer in Congress rather than lead a bipartisan effort to protect our democracy,” Swalwell said in a statement to TPM.

“There’s plenty of cause for concern that anything he hears or sees goes right to the President, essentially turning over the keys to the FBI’s evidence locker to a subject of an investigation.”

Agents in the FBI’s New York office discovered the Clinton emails while investigating Anthony Weiner, then-husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, for sex crimes. Then-FBI Director James Comey took the unprecedented step of publicly disclosing that the bureau was reopening the Clinton email probe just 11 days before the election. Nine days after that, Comey announced that the emails were irrelevant to the investigation.

On Thursday, Nunes told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that “we had whistleblowers that came to us in New York in late September of 2016, who talked to us about this laptop sitting up in New York that had additional emails on it. The House Intelligence Committee, we had that, but we couldn’t do anything with it.”

“Good FBI agents brought this to our attention,” Nunes added.

Yet Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House Intel Committee, said Sunday that Nunes’ comments were “the first that we’ve heard about it.”

Schiff called this disclosure to Nunes “deeply disturbing.”

“If this was shared by New York field agents with Devin Nunes, was it also shared with Rudy Giuliani?” Schiff said in an interview on NBC News. “Or did Devin Nunes do something which we have seen subsequently, which is coordinate with the Trump team? Was this information shared by the committee with Rudy Giuliani, or shared directly with him?”

The Justice Department inspector general report released last week was inconclusive on the possibility that information leaked through the New York office, or to Giuliani specifically. The IG is expected to more thoroughly address that issue in a subsequent report.

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A Sunday Washington Post report brought the startling revelation that yet another Russian reached out to the Trump campaign to offer dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race.

At a previously undisclosed May 2016 meeting brokered by former Trump adviser Michael Caputo, a Russian intermediary named Harry Greenberg offered GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone $2 million in exchange for this damaging information. Both Caputo and Stone say they rebuffed and then simply forgot about the remarkable encounter, and did not disclose it publicly or to Congress as a result.

The episode actually came to light after special counsel Robert Mueller’s team grilled Caputo about it during a May 2, 2018 interview.

Fearing that the meeting would be used against them, Caputo launched a well-funded effort to gather information that would help cast the meeting as just another example of an insidious anti-Trump conspiracy at the FBI.

On the same day the Post article dropped, Caputo’s team sent out a press release linking to a glossy new website detailing Greenberg’s past work as an FBI informant. The site,, claims that Caputo conducted his research using money from the crowd-sourced legal fund set up to cover the costs of his defense in the Russia probes. It links to a separate GoFundMe campaign requesting donations for additional investigations into “the informants the intelligence agencies planted into the Trump campaign to spy” on various advisers.

As the Post reported, Greenberg did claim to work as an FBI informant under a different name until around 2013. But the newspaper noted that there was no evidence that he was doing so in his interaction with Stone, and Greenberg denies that he was acting on the FBI’s behalf.

The FBI informant narrative also does not explain why Caputo and Stone failed to disclose the encounter for almost two years, and falsely testified before Congress that they had no meetings with Russian nationals during the election.

But by controlling how the story went public and tying the Greenberg incident to the preexisting FBI “spygate” narrative, the pair of Trump allies allowed themselves to avoid a defensive crouch and remain on the attack.

The seeds of this story line were planted not long after Caputo’s May 2 interview with Mueller. That evening, Caputo told CNN that the special counsel’s team remained “really focused on Russia collusion” and that they “know more about the Trump campaign than anyone who ever worked there.”

“The special counsel is spearfishing,” Caputo said. “They know what they are aiming at and are deadly accurate.”

It was around this time that reports first surfaced that an FBI informant contacted several members of the Trump campaign in July 2016 to suss out their contacts with Russians. That individual, who was in touch with both Carter Page and George Papadopolous, turned out to be Cambridge professor and longtime U.S. intelligence source Stefan Halper.

On May 21, Caputo went on Fox News and suggested that multiple covert informants tried to entrap Trump associates during the 2016 election.

“This informant, this person that they planted, try to plant into the campaign and even into the administration if you believe Axios, he’s not the only person that came at the campaign,” Caputo told host Laura Ingraham. “I know because they came at me, and I’m looking for clearance from my attorney to reveal this to the public.”

“When we finally find out the truth about this, Director Clapper and the rest of them are going to be wearing some orange suits,” he added.

This nefarious description of Greenberg as a plant dispatched to take down the Trump campaign does not quite square with Caputo and Stone’s claims that they had no memory of interacting with him.

“I didn’t talk to anybody who was identifiably Russian during the two-year run-up to this campaign,” Stone told the Washington Post in an April 2017 interview. “I very definitely can’t think of anybody who might have been a Russian without my knowledge. It’s a canard.”

Caputo, meanwhile, told CNN that he spent the bulk of his June 2017 interview before the House Intelligence Committee denying any interaction with Russians.

“I spent my time in front of the committee detailing the fact that I had no contact with Russians, that I never heard of anyone with the Trump campaign talking with Russians, that I was never asked questions about my time in Russia, that I never even spoke to anyone about Russia, that I never heard the word ‘Russia,’ and we did not use Russian dressing,” Caputo said.

But then, during his May 2 interview, special counsel investigators showed Caputo text messages that he and Stone exchanged about the Greenberg meeting in Florida.

As the Post reported, Greenberg was decked out in “Make America Great Again” gear when Stone met him for lunch at a restaurant in Sunny Isles. The Russian national told Stone they “really want to help Trump” and asked if the GOP presidential candidate would pay $2 million for damaging political information about Clinton. Stone replied that Trump “doesn’t pay for anything,” he recalled to the newspaper.

In subsequent text messages, Caputo asked “how crazy is the Russian?” Stone said that Greenberg wanted “big” money and called the meeting a “waste of time.”

Both men told the Post they will now amend their congressional testimony to account for the meeting with Greenberg, and that they simply forgot about the inconsequential encounter.

“I just didn’t remember. 2016 was a pretty busy year,” Stone told ABC News. “I don’t think a failure of memory constitutes a perjury.”

Caputo, too, brushed it off as a non-issue, claiming that he only learned that Greenberg was Russian during his interview with the special counsel, who “knew more about it than I did.”

Congressional follow-up seems unlikely, particularly from the deeply divided House Intelligence Committee.

“Few of the Trump team witnesses have proved worthy of being taken at their word,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), who sits on the House Intel Committee told TPM in a statement, “but the House Intelligence Committee’s Republicans refused to issue the subpoenas necessary to confirm or disprove these stories. The latest revelation about Roger Stone proves how irresponsible it was for the Republicans to accept witnesses’ testimony blindly and then end the investigation while insisting there were no more facts to find.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, released a harsh statement on Sunday accusing his GOP colleagues of “shielding witnesses who may have testified before us untruthfully.”

“In multiple respects now, the testimony of Roger Stone appears inaccurate or deliberately misleading,” Schiff said. “Similarly, Michael Caputo’s testimony omitted mention of this interaction with a Russian offering dirt on Hillary Clinton, something which could not plausibly have escaped his recollection. The truthfulness of many of our witnesses has been difficult to ascertain, which is why I have urged the committee to make the transcripts available to Special Counsel Mueller for a determination whether any witnesses committed perjury before our committee. The Majority’s unwillingness to do so demonstrates that protecting the President remains its paramount objective.”

Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) has actively promoted the notion that there were anti-Trump spies planted in the campaign, and released no statement responding to the Greenberg episode.

Nunes’ office did not respond to TPM’s Monday request for comment.

As the Post noted, Stone and Caputo’s communications with Greenberg means that 11 Trump associates or campaign officials have now admitted to interacting with a Russian during the campaign or presidential transition.

President Trump and his allies have denied anything untoward about those contacts, framing themselves as the target of a sprawling “witch hunt.”

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A federal judge Friday revoked the bail of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and ordered him taken into custody after he was accused of tampering with witnesses in special counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal case against him.

“I have struggled with this decision,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said before announcing her decision.

Manafort had been accused by special counsel Robert Mueller of reaching out to two former business partners who allegedly helped coordinate his lobbying effort for Ukraine in the United States. After initially asking the judge to revoke his bond, the special counsel brought new charges approved by a grand jury of obstruction of justice against Manafort and his longtime business Konstantin Kilimnik for the alleged communications.

Manafort pleaded not guilty to those charges Friday.

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Michael Cohen is telling his friends and family he may cooperate with federal prosecutors investigating him for possible financial crimes, CNN reported Friday.

According to CNN, Cohen would do so both to relieve pressure on himself and because he’s wounded that President Trump and his allies have minimized Cohen’s relationship with Trump in dismissive public comments.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are conducting a criminal investigation into Cohen’s financial and business dealings, including an October 2016 hush money payment he made to adult film star Stormy Daniels on Trump’s behalf.

In April, federal agents raided his hotel room, office and apartment, seizing electronic devices and troves of documents. That aggressive action prompted the first rumors that Cohen might flip.

Those reports went into overdrive this week thanks to reports that Cohen is splitting with his legal team. ABC News reported that he intends to cooperate, while the New York Times and Wall Street Journal said Cohen had not yet made a decision either way.

As CNN reported, Cohen has not yet met with prosecutors to discuss a possible deal, and is in the process of finding new lawyers who have closer connections with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan.

Trump told reporters on Friday that he wasn’t concerned about Cohen flipping because Trump “did nothing wrong.”

But Trump also seemed to go out of his way to praise his one-time fixer. “I always liked Michael and he’s a good person,” the president added.

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On August 12 of last year, white nationalists, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members in full regalia marched through Charlottesville, Virginia in the blazing summer heat, chanting racist slogans and clashing with the hundreds of anti-racist activists who showed up. Dozens were injured and a young paralegal, Heather Heyer, was killed when a car driven by a far-right activist plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters.

Afterward, with tensions running high, concerns percolated that a “Free Speech Rally” scheduled to take place in Boston the following weekend could devolve into similar violence.

The day after Charlottesville, Eric Radulovic, a 32-year-old Indiana man, visited 4chan’s “Politically Incorrect” discussion board, popular among the white nationalists, anti-Semites, and trolls who compose the “alt-right.” Dozens of messages proliferated about the Boston rally and how it would go. “Be prepared everyone. this can get bad,” one warned.

Posing as a member of the alt-right, Radulovic wrote an anonymous post warning that he planned to shoot other alt-right activists at the rally, in order to generate public sympathy for the movement, which was now associated with Heyer’s death.

“I’m going to bring a Remington 700 and start shooting Alt-right guys,” Radulovic allegedly posted. “We need sympathy after that landwhale got all the liberals teary eyed, so someone is going to have to make it look like the left is becoming more violent and radicalized. It’s a false flag for sure, but I’ll be aiming for the more tanned/dark haired muddied jeans in the crowd so real whites won’t have to worry.”

The Boston event was ultimately peaceful. But last Friday, some 10 months after Radulovic wrote the anonymous post, he was arrested and charged by federal prosecutors with the felony of “transmitting in interstate and foreign commerce a threat to injure the person of another.” Radulovic now faces up to five years in prison.

Speaking to TPM, some experts on far-right extremism questioned the federal government’s decision to take up the case. They noted that no federal indictments have been pursued against the white nationalists who openly promoted, and in some cases carried out, violence in Charlottesville.

President Donald Trump notoriously said “both sides” were to blame for that day’s bloody chaos.

“It’s hard to really understand why this is where the FBI is putting its resources,” said Michael German, a former undercover FBI agent who specialized in domestic terrorism operations and is now a national security expert at the Brennan Center for Justice.

“Any number of these far-right protests over the last two years have involved actual violence by people who promoted violence on social media, expressed an intent to commit violence at the protest, committed violence at the protest, videotaped it, put it on the Internet to promote themselves and recruit others for additional support at following rallies, which often involve interstate travel,” German continued. “And yet somehow the FBI is not bringing any federal charges from those cases.”

The five-page indictment returned by a grand jury makes no mention of any other threats Radulovic made, and offers no evidence that he actually intended to shoot anyone — or even to attend the Massachusetts rally. In addition, Radulovic appears to have no prior criminal record, and his public social media profiles feature no violent rhetoric or images of guns or other weapons.

It’s unclear if Radulovic is currently in jail or has retained a lawyer. The publicly available court filings and DOJ press release on his arrest say only that he was slated to appear in federal court in Indiana on June 8 and in Boston on June 20.

TPM received no response to a Facebook message sent to his account, nor to multiple emails and a Facebook message sent to the woman identified on his page as his longtime girlfriend.

According to the indictment, Radulovic made his online post “knowing that it would be interpreted as a threat, and recklessly disregarding the risk that his communication would be interpreted as a threat.”

“At least one person” living in Massachusetts who saw Radulovic’s message and planned to attend the rally as a counter-protester chose not to go out of “fear of gun and other violence,” the indictment contends.

But extremism experts say the bare-bones charging document leaves many questions unanswered, like whether federal investigators accessed other threatening anonymous posts Radulovic may have made, or had other evidence that he intended to act on this threat. They also emphasized that any stated intention to commit violence, from any source, should be treated seriously by law enforcement.

“The fact that he mentioned the event and there was some kind of specificity as to what type of weapon he would bring, that’s where it kind of crossed the threshold into a criminal matter,” Daryl Johnson, a former senior domestic terrorism analyst at the Department of Homeland Security, told TPM.

Mark Pitcavage, an expert on far-right extremism at the Anti-Defamation League, added that Radulovic’s use of first-person language was “quite rare” precisely because it could prompt legal action. Alt-right and white nationalist posters tend to give themselves some cover by “urging other people to do things,” or making “suggestive” comments like, “Wouldn’t it be great if someone brought a 50-cal sniper rifle and set up,” Pitcavage said.

But some experts say they were struck by the lack of information indicating that Radulovic’s post was anything other than a one-off comment on a forum known for gruesome bluster.

“The potential violence was a little more speculative and less imminent than we might typically see in other prosecutions,” Eric Goldman, an internet law expert at Santa Clara University School of Law, told TPM in an email.

Contrast this with the leaked Discord chats of white nationalists organizing the Charlottesville rally, who shared photographs of themselves posing with semi-automatic weapons and discussed “thumping” counter-protesters with PVC pipes. Some of those same participants subsequently showed up in Charlottesville wielding firearms, weighted flagpoles, shields, and other arms, and committed acts of violence.

Only the man accused of hitting Heyer with his car faces federal charges in connection to that rally, though local authorities made some arrests. In the subsequent months, white nationalists — some of whom have prior criminal histories — fired bullets at counter-protesters at a Richard Spencer event in Florida and brawled with them at another Spencer event in Michigan.

A February report from the Southern Poverty Law Center found that people linked to the alt-right have killed or injured over 100 people since 2014, shooting up high schools and an Islamic Cultural Center. As Peter Simi, an expert on extremism at Chapman University, pointed out, the leaders of Attomwaffen Division, a vicious white supremacist group linked to multiple recent murders, have not been apprehended.

“Here’s a group that has advocated for violence and death, clearly and explicitly, and yet federal charges have not been filed against them,” Simi noted.

On his public profiles, at least, Radulovic never appeared to promote violence. He lives in the Indianapolis suburb of Avon, where he releases trippy mixtapes under the name DJ Hypergiant. His Instagram and Facebook pages are full of photographs of sunsets darkening the wide Indiana sky, his cat and girlfriend, and homecooked pizzas. His Twitter feed makes a few mentions of depression and a few digs at President Trump and at Nazis, but it’s primarily filled with goofy memes.

“It’s interesting they are going through this trouble to target this person,” Simi said of Radulovic. “It’s work to file an indictment.”

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Attorney General Loretta Lynch was “devastated” by the impromptu visit former President Bill Clinton made onto her plane on an Arizona tarmac, a top Justice Department official told the DOJ inspector general.

The infamous meeting, which drove speculation of DOJ bias in the Hillary Clinton email probe, was recounted in excruciating detail in the inspector general report released Thursday, which covered Bill Clinton’s reasoning for making the trip to Lynch’s plane (“I don’t want her to think I’m afraid to shake hands with her because she’s the Attorney General”), and her own recollections of when she realized that the former President was about to overstay his welcome (Clinton moved some of her bags on the plane so he could take a seat.)

DOJ Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz found no evidence that the Clinton email probe was discussed. However, he said Lynch made an “error in judgment” in not cutting the conversation short, given its problematic appearance, and that she should have made more of an effort to clear the air publicly.

Lynch told the IG investigators as the conversation with Clinton ““went on and on,”  her concerns about it grew.

The incident started when Clinton was told by staff that Lynch’s plane, delayed in Phoenix while on a community policing tour, was only about 20 to 30 yards from his. He denied that he delayed his departure from Phoenix, where he was participating in campaign events for his wife, in order to speak to her.

“I literally didn’t know she was there until somebody told me she was there,” he said. “And we looked out the window and it was really close and all of her staff was unloading, so I thought she’s about to get off and I’ll just go shake hands with her when she gets off. I don’t want her to think I’m afraid to shake hands with her because she’s the Attorney General.”

By the time he approached her plane, most of the staff that had been traveling with her had exited for the motorcade waiting for them, and only Lynch, her husband, and her security remained onboard.

Lynch’s aides told the inspector general they had no idea of Clinton’s plans to board the plane, while Lynch recalled only learning when her head of security informed her that Clinton sought to speak with her.

“And I think my initial reaction was the profound statement, ‘What?’ Something like that. And he repeated that,” she told IG investigators, adding she was surprised he wanted to speak to her because she said they lacked any social relationship.

She thought they would briefly exchange pleasantries. However, Clinton, she recalled, spent the first few minutes chatting up the others, including flight crew on the plane.

After a few minutes of then chatting with Lynch, Clinton then moved tote bags she had placed on a bench, and took a seat to keep talking.

He spoke about Phoenix, golf, their travels and their grandchildren, Lynch recalled.

Lynch said Clinton complimented her tenure as attorney general, which Clinton also recalled, while denying that he called her his favorite cabinet member.

“I like her, but I’m very close to Tom Vilsack and was very close to a couple of the others, so I couldn’t have said that, but I do like her a lot,” he told the IG.

Lynch remembered the compliment as something he “would have said that to every cabinet member at that time.”

They only discussed Hillary Clinton in the context of her and Lynch being grandmothers, Bill Clinton recalled. Both denied discussion of the email probe, other Justice Department investigations, the election or any suggestion that Lynch would get a position in a Hillary Clinton administration.

The conversation lasted 20 minutes, Lynch recalled, before one of her staffers boarded the plane to intervene.

Meanwhile, among Lynch’s staff waiting on the tarmac in her motorcade, a panic was beginning to swell, according to the report:

The Deputy Chief of Staff said that they quickly realized that the meeting was problematic, because Clinton was not just the former President but was also the husband of someone who was under investigation. The Deputy Chief of Staff said that she felt “shocked,” and that they all “just felt completely…blindsided.” The Senior Counselor said that they immediately were aware that the meeting was ill-advised and that the “optics were not great.”

They called DOJ’s Public Affairs Director Melanie Newman and “sounded the alarm.”

After five minutes, a DOJ press staffer accompanying Lynch on the trip asked a security official waiting in the car meant for Lynch what was going on.  The press official informed a photographer waiting outside Lynch’s plane that the attorney general would not be taking pictures and that he should go back to his car.

After a discussion with her other staffers, another official, Lynch’s senior counselor, decided to reboard the plane.

“I don’t know what’s going on up there, but I should at least go up to intervene or help her if she needs help,” she recalled thinking. “It was part uncertainty and part kind of like this is a bad idea.”

After being briefly stopped by security, the staffer made it on the plane, but could not recall hearing what was being discussed. She thought Lynch gave the vibe of being “uncomfortable and wanted the meeting to be done.”

Clinton took another five minutes to say his goodbyes, the staffer recounted, and when he left she recalled Lynch looking “kind of … gray and, you know, not pleased.”

Newman, the public affairs director, recalled Lynch being “devastated” by the meeting:

[Lynch] doesn’t take mistakes lightly, and she felt like she had made…an incredible…mistake in judgment by saying yes instead of no, that he could come on the plane. But also, she’s like the most polite, Southern person alive. I, I don’t know in what circumstances she would have said no, or what would have happened if she had said no…. I would have much preferred a story that the Attorney General turned a former President of the United States away on the tarmac, but…she doesn’t make mistakes, and she was not pleased with herself for making this kind of high-stakes mistake.

Clinton, in his interview with the inspector general investigators, said he was surprised by the scrutiny the meeting attracted.

“[T]he mainstream media wasn’t as bad on that as they were on a lot of things, I thought, I think the ones that were criticizing me, I thought you know, I don’t know whether I’m more offended that they think I’m crooked or that they think I’m stupid,” he said, according to the report.

Read the report, where the section on the tarmac meeting starts on page 202, below:

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