Michael Schmidt

Donald Trump Jr. Communicated With WikiLeaks During Campaign

Donald Trump Jr. had multiple online conversations during the 2016 presidential campaign with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group that released a hacked trove of Democrats’ emails, according to four congressional officials. Trump, the president’s son, in recent weeks handed over Twitter messages he exchanged with WikiLeaks to several congressional committees investigating Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election, according to the officials.

Mueller Subpoenas Trump Organization, Demanding Documents About Russia

Apparently, the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia. The order is the first known instance of the special counsel demanding records directly related to President Trump’s businesses, bringing the investigation closer to the president.

Comey Memo Says President Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation

President Donald Trump asked FBI Director James Comey to shut down the federal investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February 2017, according to a memo Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” President Trump told Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” President Trump told Comey that Flynn had done nothing wrong, according to the memo. Comey did not say anything to Trump about curtailing the investigation, only replying: “I agree he is a good guy.”

In a statement, the White House denied the version of events in the memo.

The existence of Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the President has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and FBI investigation into links between Trump’s associates and Russia. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the President immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. The memo was part of a paper trail Comey created documenting what he perceived as the President’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An FBI agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.

Bill O’Reilly Is Forced Out at Fox News

Bill O’Reilly has been forced out of his position as a prime-time host on Fox News, the company said on April 19, after the disclosure of multiple settlements involving sexual harassment allegations against him. His ouster brings an abrupt and embarrassing end to his two-decade reign as one of the most popular and influential commentators in television. “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,” 21st Century Fox, Fox News’s parent company, said in a statement.

O’Reilly’s departure comes two and a half weeks after an investigation by The New York Times revealed how Fox News and 21st Century Fox had repeatedly stood by O’Reilly even as sexual harassment allegations piled up against him. The Times found that the company and O’Reilly reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by him. The agreements totaled about $13 million. Since then, more than 50 advertisers had abandoned his show, and women’s rights groups called for his ouster. Inside the company, women expressed outrage and questioned whether top executives were serious about maintaining a culture based on “trust and respect,” as they had promised last summer when another sexual harassment scandal forced the ouster of Fox News’s chairman, Roger Ailes.

Chairman Nunes Puts Credibility of House Panel He Leads in Doubt

Rep Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chairman of a House panel investigating Russian interference in the presidential election, may have dealt his own inquiry a fatal blow.

Armed with intelligence that some Republicans said bolstered President Trump’s widely disputed claim of being wiretapped by the Obama administration, Chairman Nunes bypassed Democrats and went directly to the White House. The new information, Chairman Nunes said, showed that American intelligence agencies monitoring foreign officials may have “incidentally” picked up communications of Trump transition team members. The move angered Democrats who said that Nunes’s attempt to buttress Trump’s accusation raised questions about his ability to conduct an impartial bipartisan investigation. The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, Rep Adam Schiff (D-CA), issued a challenge, saying that Chairman Nunes had to decide whether he was chairman of an independent investigation or “is going to act as a surrogate of the White House, because he cannot do both.”

Fox News Settled Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Bill O’Reilly, Documents Show

In the weeks after Roger Ailes was ousted as the chairman of Fox News in July, amid a sexual harassment scandal, company executives secretly struck an agreement with a longtime on-air personality who had come forward with similar accusations about the network’s top host, Bill O’Reilly. The employee, Juliet Huddy, had said that O’Reilly pursued a sexual relationship with her in 2011, at a time he exerted significant influence over her career. When she rebuffed his advances, he tried to derail her career, according to a draft of a letter from her lawyers. The letter includes allegations that O’Reilly had called Huddy repeatedly and that it sometimes sounded like he was masturbating. He invited her to his house on Long Island, tried to kiss her, took her to dinner and the theater, and after asking her to return a key to his hotel room, appeared at the door in his boxer shorts, according to the letter. In exchange for her silence and agreement not to sue, she was paid a sum in the high six figures, apparently. The agreement was between Huddy and 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News. The company and O’Reilly’s lawyer said her allegations were false.

Emails Warrant No New Action Against Hillary Clinton, FBI Director Says

FBI Director James Comey told Congress that he had seen no evidence in a recently discovered trove of emails to change his conclusion that Hillary Clinton should face no charges over her handling of classified information.

Comey’s announcement, just two days before the election, was an effort to clear the cloud of suspicion he had publicly placed over her presidential campaign in late October when he alerted Congress that the FBI would examine the emails. “Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton,” Director Comey wrote in a letter to the leaders of several congressional committees. He said agents had reviewed all communications to and from Clinton in the new trove from when she was secretary of state.