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Trump maintains ‘no collusion, no obstruction,’ says it’s time to ‘investigate the investigators’ in Russia probe

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Trump defends Barr, says there was 'absolutely' spying against his campaign

President Trump on Monday said it was time to “investigate the investigators,” doubling down on Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings in the Russia investigation.

“Mueller, and the A.G. based on Mueller findings (and great intelligence), have already ruled No Collusion, No Obstruction. These were crimes committed by Crooked Hillary, the DNC, Dirty Cops and others! INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS!” Trump tweeted early Monday.

COMEY SCOFFS AT BARR TESTIMONY, CLAIMS ‘SURVEILLANCE’ IS NOT ‘SPYING’ 

The president’s tweet comes following a week of mounting scrutiny on the attorney general for his testimony that “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats blasted Barr, and accused him of “peddling conspiracy theories.”

But despite the backlash from Democrats over his use of the term, Barr’s testimony appeared to refer to intelligence collection that already has been widely reported and confirmed.

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page are currently the subject of a Justice Department inspector general investigation looking at potential misconduct in the issuance of those warrants. That review also reportedly is scrutinizing the role of an FBI informant who had contacts with Trump advisers in the early stages of the Russia investigation.

A person familiar with Barr’s thinking denied that the attorney general was trying to fuel conspiracy theories or play to the conservative base.

“When he used the word spying, he means intelligence collection,” the source told Fox News last week, also noting Barr’s history as a CIA analyst in the 1970s. “He wasn’t using it in the pejorative sense, he was using it in the classic sense.”

TRUMP DEFENDS BARR, SAYS THERE ‘ABSOLUTELY’ WAS SPYING AGAINST HIS CAMPAIGN

The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘spying’ as: “to collect information about something to use in deciding how to act,” or to “observe furtively.”

The use of the term as it applies to the FBI’s surveillance in 2016 has been fiercely disputed. The New York Times, even as it reported last year on how the FBI sent an informant to speak to campaign advisers amid concerns about suspicious Russia contacts, stated that this was to “investigate” Russia ties, and “not to spy.”

Barr’s testimony, though, suggested he makes no distinction between the two. He also stressed that the question for him is whether that “spying” was justified.

“I want to make sure there was no unauthorized surveillance,” Barr testified.

The president has defended the attorney general repeatedly since the comments were made, saying that they were “absolutely true.”

“There was absolutely spying into my campaign,” Trump said last week. “I’ll go a step further and say it was illegal spying. Unprecedented spying.”

Whether proper or improper, the issue of surveillance of the Trump campaign has been widely documented.

The FISA warrants, for example, were the subject of a GOP House Intelligence Committee memo last year. That memo alleged the unverified anti-Trump dossier provided much of the basis for law enforcement officials to repeatedly secure FISA warrants against Page, though Democrats have pushed back on parts of the GOP report.

Meanwhile, Barr announced last week that he is conducting a Justice Department review of the “conduct” of the original Russia investigation.

“[I’m] trying to get my arms around all of the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted in the summer of 2016,” Barr said last week.

That review comes amid Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigation, where he is reportedly probing the involvement of FBI informant Stefan Halper — whose role first emerged last year. During the 2016 campaign, Halper reportedly contacted several members of the Trump campaign, including Page, and former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. Halper also reportedly contacted former campaign aide Sam Clovis.

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also vowed to lead an investigation into “the other side” following the release of Barr’s summary.

During his testimony, Barr promised to release the full Mueller report “within a week,” maintaining his original promise to have the report to Congress and the public, with redactions, by mid-April. It is unclear when the report will be released.

BARR REVEALS HE IS REVIEWING ‘CONDUCT’ OF FBI’S ORIGINAL RUSSIA PROBE

Last month, Mueller transmitted his more than 300-page report to the Justice Department for review. Barr’s summary stated that the special counsel found no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians during the 2016 election.

Mueller also was reviewing possible obstruction of justice on the part of the president, but did not come to a conclusion on the topic, and instead, leaving it to Barr.

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that the evidence from the case was “not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

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Supreme Court to take up LGBT job discrimination cases

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Supreme Court to take up LGBT job discrimination cases

The Supreme Court will decide whether the main federal civil rights law that prohibits employment discrimination applies to LGBT people.

The justices say Monday they will hear cases involving people who claim they were fired because of their sexual orientation. Another case involves a funeral home employee who was fired after disclosing that she was transitioning from male to female and dressed as a woman.

The cases will be argued in the fall, with decisions likely by June 2020 in the middle of the presidential election campaign.

The issue is whether Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, protects LGBT people from job discrimination. Title VII does not specifically mention sexual orientation or transgender status, but federal appeals courts in Chicago and New York have ruled recently that gay and lesbian employees are entitled to protection from discrimination. The federal appeals court in Cincinnati has extended similar protections for transgender people.

The big question is whether the Supreme Court, with a strengthened conservative majority, will do the same.

The Obama administration had supported treating LGBT discrimination claims as sex discrimination, but the Trump administration has changed course. The Trump Justice Department has argued that Title VII was not intended to provide protections to gay or transgender workers. The administration also separately withdrew Obama-era guidance to educators to treat claims of transgender students as sex discrimination.

President Donald Trump has appointed two justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

The justices will take up three cases in the fall.

In one, the federal appeals court in New York ruled in favor of a gay skydiving instructor who claimed he was fired because of his sexual orientation. The second case is from Georgia, where the federal appeals court ruled against a gay employee of Clayton County, in the Atlanta suburbs.

The third case comes from Michigan, where a funeral home fired a transgender woman. The appeals court in Cincinnati ruled that the firing constituted sex discrimination under federal law.

The funeral home argues in part that Congress was not thinking about transgender people when it included sex discrimination in Title VII.

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Kellyanne Conway: Trump can’t be impeached by an investigation Democrats started

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Kellyanne Conway: Trump can't be impeached by an investigation Democrats started

As thousands gathered on the White House lawn for the annual Easter egg roll on Monday morning, Kellyanne Conway criticized House Democrats latest impeachment push, calling it “a ridiculous proposition.”

News broke on Sunday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., plans to hold a private conference call with fellow Democrats to discuss the possibility of impeaching President Trump.

The issue was raised again after a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report was released last week, which Dems argue provides evidence to the contrary of Attorney General William Barr’s summary that the investigation found no evidence that President Trump obstructed justice.

However, Conway pushed back.

TRUMP SUES TO BLOCK DEMOCRATS’ SUBPOENA FOR FINANCIAL INFORMATION

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ TARGETED BY MYSTERY MULTIMILLIONAIRE DONOR

“You can’t impeach a Republican president for something the Democrats started, which is this ridiculous investigation that has cost us $25 million, over 2500 subpoenas,” Conway told “Fox & Friends” host Ainsley Earhardt on Monday morning.

“The special counsel provides a report to the attorney general who, in concert with the deputy attorney general and office of legal counsel, decided there was no obstructive conduct. They could not bring obstruction charges – they made that decision,” she continued.

“I’m sure if director Mueller and his team could have brought those very clear charges they would have.”

She added that many in the media are now trying to “save face” after fiercely believing and predicting Mueller’s investigation would uncover collusion between Trump and Russia, which would have supplemented their arguments in 2016 that Trump “lied and stole the election.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

As the 2020 election approaches, Conway also commented on the wide array of Democrats entering the race and reminded viewers that candidates need to run on real issues.

“Simple math,” she said. “One, 19, 50, anything times zero, simple multiplication … 19 are running, but if your message is zero it’s a big zero.”

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Ex-Trump attorney Dowd disputes Mueller report, says president never tried to oust special counsel

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Ex-Trump attorney Dowd disputes Mueller report, says president never tried to oust special counsel

President Trump never said he wanted to “get rid” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and instead cooperated fully with his investigation, according to one of the president’s former attorneys.

John Dowd, who served as a member of President Trump’s legal team from June 2017 until March 2018, discussed Trump’s approach to Mueller during an interview on “Fox & Friends” Monday.

Frequent media accounts prior to the release of the report suggested Trump tried to fire Mueller at times during the Russia investigation. The report itself said Trump told then-White House Counsel Don McGahn in June 2017 to tell the acting attorney general that Mueller “must be removed.” McGahn refused.

But asked on Monday when Trump said to fire Mueller, Dowd said: “He never did. I was there at the same time that the report says McGahn mentioned this, and I was assigned to deal with Mueller and briefed the president every day.

CONTROVERSIAL STEELE DOSSIER BACK IN SPOTLIGHT AFTER MUELLER REPORT’S RELEASE

TOM PEREZ: NO ONE — NOT EVEN PRESIDENT TRUMP — IS ABOVE THE LAW FOLLOWING MUELLER REPORT REVELATIONS

“At no time did the president ever say, ‘you know, John, I’m going to get rid of him.’ It was the opposite.

“Here’s the message the president had for Bob Mueller, he told me to carry — number one, you tell him I respect what he is doing; number two, you tell him he has my full cooperation; number three, get it done as quickly as possible; and number four, whatever else you need, let me know.

“That was always the message and that is exactly what we did.”

Dowd continued, saying he spoke to Mueller about the president’s frequent public criticism of the investigation.

GIULIANI SLAMS ‘CONFLICTS OF INTEREST’ IN SPECIAL COUNSEL’S OFFICE: ‘WHEN DID MUELLER BECOME GOD?’

“I talked to Bob about that. I said, ‘do you understand what’s going on?’ and he said, ‘oh, it’s political, he has to do that for political reasons’.

“I said, ‘I tell you what, the president and I will make sure, we’ll say publicly cooperate with Bob Mueller’ and we did early on. So that was it.”

Host Steve Doocy then asked Dowd about “the suggestion from the report that Don McGahn, the president’s attorney, was told go out and fire him” Mueller.

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“I just I think there was a misunderstanding,” Dowd said.

“I just don’t believe it. I think the president simply wanted McGahn to call Rosenstein, have him vetted, because the president believed Mueller did have some conflicts.”

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