Friday, October 14, 2016

Top Dems call on FBI to investigate Trump ally over leaked emails

Several top House Democrats on Friday demanded that the FBI investigate a possible link between Donald Trump ally Roger Stone and the organization that has published leaked Democratic emails.

Reps. Elijah Cummings (Md.), John Conyers (Mich.), Eliot Engel (N.Y.) and Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) are pushing the administration to investigate Stone, who has claimed “backchannel” conversations with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

“Troubling new evidence appears to show that the Trump campaign not only was aware of cyber attacks against Secretary Clinton’s campaign chairman, but was openly bragging about it as far back as August,” the lawmakers wrote.

“For months, we have been asking the FBI to examine links between the Trump campaign and illegal Russian efforts to affect our election, including interviewing Trump advisor Roger Stone,” they added.

The same lawmakers – who are the ranking members of the House Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, Judiciary, Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security – sent a letter to FBI director James Comey on Aug. 30 asking he investigate any connection between Trump's campaign and Russia. 

Stone has alluded to communications with Assange since early August and has hinted at inside information. The Democratic lawmakers believe that tweets prior to the release of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s breached emails this month show Stone had inside knowledge of the attack. 

A little over a week before the lawmakers sent their letter to the FBI head, Stone tweeted, “Trust me, it will soon the [sic] Podesta’s time in the barrel.#CrookedHillary.” 

“[W]e call on the FBI to fully investigate and explain to the American people what steps it is taking to disrupt this ongoing criminal activity," the lawmakers said Friday.

Earlier in the day, Hillary Clinton's campaign organized a call with former CIA acting director Mike Morell, former head of the National Counterterrorism Center Matt Olsen and campaign advisor and former State Department Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs James Rubin, who expressed concerns that Trump's campaign continued to “encourag[e]” Russia to hack U.S. entities.  

“I cannot remember a single time in American history where the American government has accused another government of trying to interfere in our elections. This is really unprecedented and, as a national security person, it shakes me to my core,” Morell said.

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