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52

You are correct that "collusion" is being used very loosely. There is no specific federal criminal statute that outlaws "collusion", for example (except for an antitrust law not relevant here). This NYTimes editorial argues that the term is a problem: The problem is that the focus on the term “collusion” has had the effect of implying precision where ...


24

The only possible way to answer this is to quote more from the official text of Comey's press release. I've added my own emphasis, however. Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors ...


16

I'm not even sure if the FBI was officially investigating the issue or not. Yes, the FBI was officially (and likely is) investigating the issue. James Comey confirmed that during a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee. The investigation is still on at the time he was dismissed from the FBI. Mr. Comey said the F.B.I. was “investigating the ...


15

FBI agents are particularly restricted in what they may do or not do. This is partially specified by law, and partially a professional norm. Both law and custom allow FBI agents (as well as all other governmental staff) to have opinions. However, they must be careful about how they express those opinions. Federal Employees Have Restrictions The United ...


13

The Ryan Lucas NPR article cited already answered this: But that doesn't mean that attorney-client privilege is a magical blanket that covers any and all scrutiny. It doesn't. There are, in fact, a number of exceptions. Perhaps the most frequently cited is known as the "crime-fraud exception." Boiled down to the basics, this says that ...


10

First off, consider the charges against Manafort. The actual charges, without interpretation. Manafort and Gates have not been indicted for 'collusion'. They have been indicted for tax evasion, and for not registering themselves as foreign agents with the US state department - which is required. The period of time in which these offenses occurred was 2005-...


10

Googling this question produced good answers, but I'll sum them up here anways. First and foremost, the use of many agents is not abnormal. From former agent James Gagliono "In the FBI, we tend to defuse situations by removing the fight-or-flight inclination, via our overwhelming presence. To arrest one, we bring 10. For 10, we'll bring 100," (source) ...


8

Collusion: "secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose" The media has been using Collusion as a catch all for other potential crimes that the Trump team is being accused of. I am not a lawyer, but the legal usage of Collusion would appear to be mostly limited to unfair market practices (e.g.: price fixing between two ...


8

Basically, at that time, there was no reason for the FBI to issue a warrant. As the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure states: (d) Obtaining a Warrant. (1) In General. After receiving an affidavit or other information, a magistrate judge—or if authorized by Rule 41(b), a judge of a state court of record—must issue the warrant if there is probable ...


8

FiveThirtyEight had a podcast on the topic and they made one very important non-partisan point: If the affair was a secret (which is just a theory, we don't know without reading the mind of his wife - such marriages often are built on the French model rather than Puritanical one), that secret would have a security implication, in that anyone with such a ...


7

The FBI is a part of the Department of Justice (DoJ). Within the Department, the Department Ethics Office issues guidance on professional ethics. Fortunately for us, they have published their guidance online. There are probably two sections you would want to take a look at: Political Activites covers what political activities a DoJ employee may ...


6

We don't know The only person who could really tell us what Robert Mueller is investigating is Mueller himself, and he hasn't made any official pronouncements. Until either Mueller or a spokesperson for Mueller goes on the record, we (the general public) are unlikely to know whether or not there is an investigation. And Mueller is unlikely to go public ...


6

Here's what we know Several prominent Democrats and their assistants (most notably James Podesta) were the subject of hacking, apparently targeted deliberately with spear phishing tactics. These hacks have been tied to Russia (albeit unclearly). Because of this, the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation. This was not a criminal investigation, was ...


6

An AP reporter recently asked this exact question in a brief article. As she states, "the answer partly depends on what you see as the real motive behind the director’s firing." Sen. Al Franken is a prominent example of someone who sees a contradiction. As quoted on The Hill: “I am also deeply troubled by the fact that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, ...


6

Why didn't the FBI just get a warrant to retrieve these emails? Because you need probable cause to obtain a warrant. As the article you linked notes, keeping the emails on a private server was - while being a poor and objectionable choice - "in compliance with the laws and regulations at the time", which is also why the FBI didn't bring charges against ...


6

There is no evidence that Trump's alleged sexual affairs have any direct significance or impact to the alleged Collusion. It is also known that similar scandals occur here and there, and this includes even top politicians. However, this may reduce Trump's support received from prominent Republican leaders. Here's the reason: Many Republicans are known for ...


6

Looks like the answer is no. Assuming that "the investigative team" referenced below is a tactical (non-partisan) team and not a high-ranking official or a member of FBI leadership. From https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/05/03/read-the-full-testimony-of-fbi-director-james-comey-in-which-he-discusses-clinton-email-investigation/?...


6

Definition of wiretapping: Wiretapping means connecting a concealed listening or recording device connected to a communications circuit. Two things here: This is obviously a subset of surveillance, which can also include things like following a person and listening to conversations in person. The mention of a device connected to a phone or other ...


6

The FBI does not have much reason to disclose relevant information about it's sources and methods, so we can't easily measure to what extent this particular task force (or any other unit of the federal US intelligence community) surveils social media. But as an academic handbook puts it: Social media intelligence (SOCMINT) is an increasingly important ...


5

You wrote: The House Intelligence Committee just voted to release a memo drafted by Chairman Devin Nunes and other Republicans which discusses alleged misconduct by the FBI in the Trump-Russia investigation. All media reports I've seen claim the memo was drafted by Devin Nunes and committee staff. Also, here's how Reuters characterizes the memo: Two ...


5

FBI agents are granted considerable power in the execution of their duties. As such, they are held to higher standards than average people, and are expected to execute their duties in an objective manner. The agent in question is perfectly free to have whatever opinions they wish. What they cannot do is act in a manner that casts doubt upon their ...


5

It's important to remember that the FBI and Justice Department fall totally underneath the Executive branch. So while it might look bad, or even appear to be a conflict of interest, it is permissible (emphasis mine) The president can also fire the FBI director, even without a stated reason for doing so. “There are no statutory conditions on the president’...


5

The FBI Director is a position within the executive branch of the US Government, thus the President is able to dismiss him like any other executive branch official. There's no exact process and the President just needs to announce his intent and in Comey's case, he wrote a letter to him. Under the Constitution, the FBI Director is an executive branch ...


5

Like with many investigations, it didn't start as a Trump/Russia investigation (remember, the Clinton impeachment over consensual sexual contact that he lied about was supposed to be an investigation into a Hillary Clinton land deal from the early 1980s). Originally, during the summer and fall of 2016, during the presidential campaign, there was evidence ...


5

Can POTUS directly order DOJ & FBI to close an investigation? He can fire the Attorney General and the Director of the FBI, and he has actually done both of those things (to Sally Yates and James Comey respectively, though the former was the Acting Attorney General at the time). Whether he can lawfully "order" the closure of an investigation is unclear ...


5

Oversight is conducted primarily by the Gang of 8. The Gang of Eight is a colloquial term for a set of eight leaders within the United States Congress who are briefed on classified intelligence matters by the executive branch. Specifically, the Gang of Eight includes the leaders of each of the two parties from both the Senate and House of Representatives, ...


4

From an IT security point of view, nothing that has been released that proves or even has plausible hints to direct Russian intervention. Doesn't mean that there isn't information, just that it hasn't been made public. Podesta fell for a targeted phishing scheme (spear phishing, where the email purports to be from a close associate) some time before the ...


4

To prove illegal collusion, they have to prove that the Donald Trump campaign or Trump himself made an agreement for someone to engage in an illegal act. Collusion is not in and of itself illegal, the actual crime would be something else. It is not illegal to hear information that Russia might want to share, even if the information were obtained ...


4

I like your question. I don't know why someone voted it down, though it might be better for legal than political. The opening question "is it dead" is too broad but you make it nice and specific here: it seems fair to ask whether or not attorney-client privilege has been handled in a consistent and impartial manner in the Trump and Hillary Clinton ...


3

There is a difference between having a personal opinion and having a personal opinion while having a personal involvement with the subject matter of an investigation. For example, let's consider a hypothetical FBI agent investigating a suspected drug dealer for supposedly being a kingpin of a marijuana empire (and I am using a soft drug such as marijuana ...


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