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National
Thousand Oaks shooting: 12 killed, including deputy, at California bar; suspect also dead
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Thousand Oaks shooting: 12 killed, including deputy, at California bar; suspect also dead

VIDEO: Mass Shooting at California Bar

Thousand Oaks shooting: 12 killed, including deputy, at California bar; suspect also dead

Twelve people, including a sheriff’s deputy, were killed after a gunman opened fire at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, late Wednesday, authorities confirmed early Thursday. The shooter is also dead.

>> PHOTOS: 12 killed in Thousand Oaks, California, bar shooting

   

>> Thousand Oaks mass shooting: What we know about the suspect

Here are the latest updates:

Update 2:03 a.m. PST Nov. 9: The family of Marky Meza Jr. confirmed that the 20-year-old busboy and food runner at the Borderline Bar & Grill, as the 12th victim, KEYT reported. He was raised in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria and worked at the restaurant as a busboy and food runner, the station said. 

According to a statement released by the family, Meza would have turned 21 on Nov. 19.
“Marky was a loving and wonderful young man who was full of life and ambition,” the statement said. “His family is devastated by his loss. … His family asks for peace and respect at this time to allow them to grieve privately.”

Update 8 p.m. PST Nov. 8Julie Hanson, who lives with her husband next door to the home of shooter Ian Long shared with his mother, says she always found Long odd and disrespectful. 

She says he was strange even before entering the military. 

Tom Hanson called the police on Ian Long in April when he heard loud noises and shouting. Julie Hanson says her husband and a neighbor were worried that he was going to injure himself or his mother. 

She says Ian Long was unfriendly and never made eye contact. She could often hear him yelling and cursing.

Update 5:30 p.m. PST Nov. 8: Officials say five off-duty officers were inside Borderline Bar and Grill in the city of Thousand Oaks when gunfire erupted, and they helped get people to safety. 

Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Garo Kuredjian said that the two officers from the city of Oxnard and three from Los Angeles “assisted in evacuating those that were injured” and helped prevent others from being hurt.

Update 2:20 p.m. PST Nov. 8: An FBI official said in a press briefing that  investigators seeking the motive for the mass shooting and hope evidence will allow them to paint a picture of the gunman’s frame of mind. 

Paul Delacourt, assistant director of the Los Angeles field office, said the crime scene, the gunman’s home and car are being processed for evidence and interviews are being conducted. 

He also said that it is premature to speculate on the motivation.

Update 11:50 a.m. PST Nov. 8: Officials with California Lutheran University confirmed Thursday that one of the college's recent graduates was among the 12 people killed when a gunman opened fire Wednesday night at Borderline Bar & Grill. 

"Sadly, we have learned from the family that a recent graduate, Justin Meek, 23, is one of the precious lives cut short in this tragedy,” officials said on the university’s website. “Meek heroically saved lives in the incident.”

Update 11:45 a.m. PST Nov. 8: In a statement released to BuzzFeed News, actress Tamara Mowry-Housley and her husband, Adam Housley, confirmed that their niece, Alaina, was among the 12 people killed in Wednesday's shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill.

"Alaina was an incredible young woman with so much life ahead of her and we are devastated that her life was cut short in this manner," the couple said in a statement. "we thank everyone for your prayers and ask for privacy at this time."

 

Update 11:10 a.m. PST Nov. 8: Jason Coffman told reporters on Thursday that deputies confirmed his son, Cody Coffman, was among the 12 people killed in Wednesday night’s shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill.

>> Thousand Oaks shooting: What we know about the victims

Jason Coffman said his son had recently moved in with him and his wife.

“I talked to him last night before he headed out the door,” he said. “First thing I said was, ‘Please, don’t drink and drive.’ Last thing I said was, ‘Son, I love you.’”

Jason Coffman said deputies told him that his son was found dead at the scene of Wednesday’s mass shooting.

Eleven other people, including Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, died in Wednesday’s shooting.

Update 9:45 a.m. PST Nov. 8: A neighbor who said he knew the gunman who killed 12 people Wednesday night in a shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill told KABC-TV that the suspect lived with his mother and that she was worried about him.

“He wouldn’t get help,” Richard Berge told the news station.

 

Deputies identified the gunman as Ian David Long, a 28-year-old former U.S. Marine.

Tom Hanson, who lives next door to Long’s mother, told The Associated Press that he called police six months ago when he heard banging and shouting coming from his neighbor’s home.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said authorities had made contact with Long before Wednesday’s shooting, including responding to a call to his home in April. Deputies said they found him acting irate and irrationally.

>> Thousand Oaks shooting: Tamera Mowry-Housley, Adam Housley searching for missing niece

The sheriff said a mental health crisis team was called at that time and concluded that Long did not need to be taken into custody.

Long served in the Marines from August 2008 until March 2013 as a machine gunner. He earned the rank of corporal in August 2011. He also earned several awards during his time in the Corps, including a Combat Action Ribbon and a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal.

Officials with the Marine Corps said Long was deployed to Afghanistan for seven months, from Nov. 16, 2010, to June 14, 2011. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Update 8:35 a.m. PST Nov. 8: Deputies said the 28-year-old former U.S. Marine who opened fire on a crowd gathered Wednesday at Borderline Bar & Grill used a Glock 21 .45-caliber gun that was modified with an illegal extended magazine.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said the gun used by Ian David Long was designed to hold a magazine of 10 rounds, with one additional round in the chamber.

 

“We have no way to know how many rounds he actually had in there,” Dean said Thursday morning at a news conference.

Authorities believe Long legally bought the gun. Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating.

Dean said Long appeared to have shot himself after killing a dozen others at the bar Wednesday night. In the aftermath of the attack, authorities were working to determine any connection between Long and Borderline Bar & Grill.

“We haven’t found any correlation,” Dean said. “We’ll probably know more after we execute the search warrant at his house -- that maybe there was a motive for this particular night -- but at this point we have no information leading to that at all.”

Dean said authorities do not believe the shooting was random, although Long appeared to choose his targets at-random once inside the bar.

>> Thousand Oaks shooting: Survivors of Las Vegas shooting were at California bar shooting

“He’s a resident of this area. Common sense would speculate that there’s some reason he went here,” Dean said. “It’s not like he was driving down the freeway and decided, ‘I’m going to get off here.’”

Twelve people were killed and about a dozen others were wounded in Wednesday’s attack. Dean said one person suffered a minor gunshot injury while between eight and 15 others were injured while jumping out windows or diving under tables to escape the bullets.

Officials have not identified any of the victims aside from Sgt. Ron Helus, a Ventura County sheriff’s deputy slain while responding to reports of the shooting.

“Ron was a great guy. He was close to everybody,” Dean said. “He was a hard worker and hearts are broken all over.”

 

Update 7:55 a.m. PST Nov. 8: President Donald Trump ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Thursday in honor of the 12 people killed when a gunman opened fire at Borderline Bar & Grill, a country dance bar in Thousand Oaks.

 

Update 7:25 a.m. PST Nov. 8: The man identified as the gunman who killed 12 in a shooting Wednesday night at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said. Citing Department of Defense records, CNN reported that Ian David Long, 28, was on active duty with the Marines from August 2008 to March 2013.

Dean said authorities had several previous contacts with Long including a call to his home in April, when deputies found him acting irate and irrationally.

The sheriff said a mental health crisis team was called at that time and concluded that Long did not need to be taken into custody.

Update 7 a.m. PST Nov. 8: Ventura County Sherif Geoff Dean identified the gunman who killed 12 at Borderline Bar & Grill on Wednesday night as Ian David Long, 28.

Update 6:40 a.m. PST Nov. 8: Some of the people who fled from the shooting Wednesday night at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks had previously survived the shooting that killed nearly 60 people in Las Vegas last year, according to CBS News.

Nicholas Champion told the news network that he and several other people who were in the bar when shots rang out Wednesday had survived the Route 91 shooting last October in Las Vegas.

“It’s the second time in about a year and a month that this has happened,” he told CBS News. “It’s a big thing for us. We’re all a big family and unfortunately this family got hit twice.”

 

Update 5:55 a.m. PST Nov. 8: A procession for Sgt. Ron Helus, the deputy who was shot and killed Wednesday in a shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. Thursday.

 

Helus was a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. He is survived by his wife and son, deputies said.

“Ron’s selfless, heroic actions will never be forgotten,” deputies said Thursday morning in a statement. “Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Update 5:30 a.m. PST Nov. 8: Law enforcement officials have identified the gunman who killed 12 people at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, according to The Associated Press.

 

An unidentified law enforcement official told the AP the gunman was a 29-year-old man who used a .45-caliber handgun and a smoke device during Wednesday’s attack. His name has not been released.

Update 4:51 a.m. PST Nov. 8: President Donald Trump took to Twitter Thursday morning to address the California shooting.

“I have been fully briefed on the terrible shooting in California,” Trump tweeted. “Law Enforcement and First Responders, together with the FBI, are on scene. 13 people, at this time, have been reported dead. Likewise, the shooter is dead, along with the first police officer to enter the bar....”

In a second tweet, he added: “....Great bravery shown by police. California Highway Patrol was on scene within 3 minutes, with first officer to enter shot numerous times. That Sheriff’s Sergeant died in the hospital. God bless all of the victims and families of the victims. Thank you to Law Enforcement.”

  

Update 3:42 a.m. PST Nov. 8: Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean described Sgt. Ron Helus, the deputy who was killed in the shooting, as “hard-working” and “dedicated.”

“He gave it his all, and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero because he went in to save lives, to save other people,” Dean told reporters early Thursday.

Helus, of Moorpark, worked for the department for 29 years. He is survived by a wife and son, Dean said.

Update 3:08 a.m. PST Nov. 8: Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean provided the following details during a news conference early Thursday:

  • 11 people killed at the scene
  • Suspect also dead inside
  • Sgt. Ron Helus with the Ventura County Sheriff's Office died at the hospital
  • 10 to 12 other victims injured inside the bar
  • Others with minor injuries took themselves to hospitals
  • Suspect not yet identified
  • Unclear whether there is a terrorism link

Update 2:08 a.m. PST Nov. 8: NBC News and the Los Angeles Times are reporting “multiple fatalities” in the shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill. The number of dead is not yet known.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said the gunman is dead inside the bar. 

Hundreds of people were at the country music bar during the shooting, which occurred during college night. Several students from Pepperdine University reportedly were there.

 

Update 1:33 a.m. PST Nov. 8: The Los Angeles Times and other local news outlets are reporting that at least 11 people were injured in the shooting. Their condition was not immediately known.

Authorities said the shooter is believed to be “contained” in the bar. They said they do not believe there’s a threat to nearby residents.

 

Update 1:17 a.m. PST Nov. 8: Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Garo Kuredjian told reporters early Thursday that at least six people, including a sheriff’s deputy, were shot, according to The Associated Press. The deputy is being treated at an area hospital, the AP reported.

Kuredjian said the scene was still active.

Read more here.

Original report: A gunman opened fire at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, late Wednesday, injuring multiple people, area news outlets are reporting.

According to the Ventura County Star, a man armed with a semiautomatic handgun fired 30 shots at the Borderline Bar & Grill starting around 11:20 p.m. PST, police and witnesses said. Multiple people were hurt, including a sheriff’s deputy, the Star reported. The deputy’s injuries were not life-threatening, CBS News reported.

>> Read more trending news 

About 12:30 a.m. PST, the suspect “was still believed to be inside the bar,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Witnesses said the shooter was a bearded man who was wearing all black, according to the Star.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read More
  • Two decades have passed since the Columbine High School shootings -- a tragedy that left 12 students and one teacher dead, and changed the national conversation on school violence. On April 20, 1999, two Columbine seniors arrived at the school, armed with guns, knives and homemade explosives. The pair went on a shooting rampage before taking their own lives, according to a timeline of events. In the end, 12 students (not including the shooters) and one teacher perished. Twenty-three others were wounded, some of whom were paralyzed. Many of those who weren’t physically injured suffered emotional wounds. The shooting rocked the normally sleepy community of Littleton, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, then-Columbine High School Principal Frank DeAngelis. The tragedy ranks as one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history as well as one of the deadliest episodes of school violence. 'At times, it seems like it was just yesterday, and then other times, it seems like it was in a far distance,' DeAngelis told KUSA-TV. Friday evening, hundreds of mourners gathered at the Columbine Memorial, which stands in a park near the school, to honor those who lost their lives, KMGH-TV reported. Survivors and victims’ families have spoken to local and national media about the lasting impact the shootings have had on their lives. One of those survivors is Patrick Ireland. Now a 37-year-old father of three, Ireland was a 17-year-old student at the time of the shooting, KUSA-TV reported. He was shot and badly wounded in the school’s library. Ireland recalled to the news station the support he received after the shooting. “So many of my strong bonds and relationships were formed from everything that we went through at Columbine,” he said. “There was no playbook written for how a community should respond to this. People just opened up their hearts and their homes and were able to create that sense of belonging that really bonded the community together.” Cori Sanders lost her father, teacher Dave Sanders, in the shooting. Dave Sanders is credited with saving the lives of dozens of students as he put himself between them and the gunmen, according to KUSA-TV. 'My older daughter for many, many years would say Grandpa was in the wrong place at the wrong time,' Sanders said. 'Ten years ago, without prompting, she said he was at the right place at the right time, and I think that was really an important shift for our entire family.' DeAngelis recalled to CNN the “enormous burden” he felt to rebuild the Columbine community in the wake of the shooting. 'I tried to do everything to protect what I call the Columbine family,' he said. 'But when I would come home, I just wanted to be left alone … It cost me my marriage. My wife was saying, 'You're not the same person I married. You've changed.' And I did. I felt so much guilt.' Today, DeAngelis works with the Principal Recovery Network to provide support to school administrators and staff who have experienced gun violence on the job. He said he remains in contact with the “Columbine family.” He said years of therapy have helped him in the two decades since the shooting. 'He (the therapist) made me realize that Columbine is not going to define me. And that helped a lot,' DeAngelis said. 'I've just got to get it in my mind that it's OK.
  • Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed legislation establishing guidelines for producing commercial hemp in the state on Thursday.  The bill authorizes the state Department of Agriculture to develop and manage a hemp production program under the 2018 federal farm bill.  The measure received bipartisan support in the state House and Senate. State leaders expect rules to be in place to allow for planting of industrial hemp in the 2020 crop year. 
  • When Roger and Marcia Altis’ family business didn’t quite work out as planned — especially after Roger’s first heart attack — they decided to file for bankruptcy. Medical and other bills had piled up. The Internal Revenue Service came calling, demanding tax money. So the Eureka couple hired a Wichita attorney who they thought would help shepherd them through the financial mess. Instead, that attorney, Christopher O’Brien, made it worse — by stealing money meant to pay down the Altises’ debt. O’Brien, 69, last month pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement in the case — and agreed to pay nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in restitution to the Altises and two other clients who accused him of thievery. He’s set for sentencing at the federal courthouse in Wichita on June 3, according to court records. What’s already been a horrible ordeal for the Altises has taken another difficult turn. The couple is now at risk of losing their home over unpaid property tax they thought the estate would handle, the Wichita Eagle reported. In March, they received notice that they had only a short period of time to come up with more than $24,000 to pay to Greenwood County — or what’s left of their land, where their house and garden sit, will be sold to the highest bidder at a sheriff’s auction.
  • A large fire broke out at a midtown Tulsa apartment complex Friday, damaging or destroying more than a dozen units. It happened at the Cobblestone Apartments, west of 51st Street and Memorial Road, about 9:30 a.m. No one was hurt in the fire, as management acted quickly to notify residents they needed to evacuate.  Fire investigators say early on, it appears a smouldering cigarette or cigar left on a balcony was the source of ignition. KRMG spoke with a resident at the scene who was visibly upset because her pet was missing.  “The manager, Andy, knocked on the door and said to get out because the building was on fire,” Elizabeth told KRMG, “and I couldn’t find my cat.”  “I just want my baby!” she sobbed, as a friend tried to offer encouragement.  Firefighters did pull other pets from the building safely.  TFD spokesman Andy Little said the department’s response included five engines and four ladder trucks.  “It’s under control right now,” he said about 10:00 a.m., “but we still  have a lot of work to do.”  He said when firefighters arrived, “fire was coming out of the balcony and up onto the roof. Within minutes, it was through the roof so it was going pretty good when we got here.” The Red Cross responded to the scene to help residents.
  • Two hit sitcoms from the 1970s are coming back for a live, one-night-only event. Archie, Edith, George and Weezy from “All in the Family,” and its spin-off “The Jeffersons” will air next month on ABC for a prime-time special, The Associated Press reported. Woody Harrelson will play Archie Bunker, Marisa Tomei will portray his wife Edith. Jamie Foxx will play Archie’s former neighbor George Jefferson and Wanda Sykes will play his wife Louise. >> Read more trending news  Ellie Kemper, Justina Machado and Will Ferrell will also star in the event with more stars expected to be announced later, the AP reported. But why bring back such classic shows, ones that hit many hot button topics like racism and women’s rights head on? Norman Lear, who created both programs said in a statement, people say “These two shows were meant for the ‘70s and would not work today. We disagree with them and are here to prove, with two great casts depicting ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,’ the timelessness of human nature.” The show, “Live in front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All In The Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’” will air May 22, 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET, Deadline reported.

Washington Insider

  • As reporters, politicians, legal experts, and members of both political parties spent the weekend going over the impact of the 448 page redacted version of the Mueller Report, it was obvious from the political and legal reactions that the fight over what Russia did in the 2016 elections - and how the Trump Campaign and President Donald Trump dealt with that - was not going to be ending anytime soon. 'There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians,” President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani told CNN's 'State of the Union' on Sunday, as Republicans continue to press the case that the Mueller Report absolves the President of any and all wrongdoing. 'We need to go back and look at how this fake “Russia Collusion” narrative started,' said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), as Republicans looked to move on from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and to focus on investigating the investigators. Meanwhile, Democrats were mulling over their own options, which certainly seem to include more hearings in Congress on what was revealed by the Mueller Report, tugging the story in the exact opposite direction. Democrats pointed to comments from Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who said the Mueller Report showed a 'pervasiveness of dishonesty' inside the Trump White House. Here's some things which may get some attention in the weeks and months ahead: 1. GOP still wants answers on the Steele Dossier. If you were looking for the Special Counsel's office to detail how the Steele Dossier had factored into the Russia investigation, there was precious little in the Mueller Report. The dossier was directly mentioned 14 times, but there was no mention of it contributing anything directly to the findings of the report. The Special Counsel report says nothing about the dossier as the reason for starting a counter-intelligence investigation, instead making clear that it was information from Trump Campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos which was the genesis. 'On July 31, 2016, based on the foreign government rep01ting, the FBI opened an investigation into potential coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign,' the report states on page 14. But the Mueller Report does not address one key question - was the Steele Dossier just another effort by Moscow to disrupt the 2016 elections? This is where Republicans say they want answers - they can hold hearings in the U.S. Senate, if they wish. 2. Michael Cohen again demands retraction over Prague story. One item in the Steele Dossier which has often caused a media furor is over the assertion that President Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen went to the Czech Republic on some sort of mission for the President during the 2016 campaign. Cohen has always denied it, and repeated that in testimony before Congress earlier this year. 'Have you ever been to Prague?' Cohen was asked. 'I've never been to Prague,' Cohen responded without missing a beat. 'I've never been to the Czech Republic.' The Mueller Report was clear that Cohen was believed over Steele. 'Cohen had never traveled to Prague and was not concerned about those allegations, which he believed were provably false,' the report says on page 351. On Friday, Cohen again said he was still waiting for a retraction by McClatchy Newspapers. 3. Why did Donald Trump Jr. not answer questions from Mueller? While President Trump's son has steadfastly defended his father throughout the Mueller investigation, and testified to the Congress about the Russia probe, the Special Counsel report notes that Trump Jr. did not directly aid the Mueller investigation, specifically on the infamous Trump Tower meeting. 'The Office spoke to every participant except Veselnitskaya (a Russian lawyer) and Trump, Jr., the latter of whom declined to be interviewed by the Office' - then, the next two sentences are redacted, with the explanation on page 125 that grand jury information is responsible for the redacation. In a later discussion of how President Trump handled publicity about the Trump Tower meeting, there is a redaction which involves Trump Jr. on grand jury grounds - does it indicate again that Trump Jr. did not answer questions? It's not clear because of the blacked out material - but the President's son never seemingly answered questions from Mueller's team or a federal grand jury. 4. A Trump tweet that was redacted in the Mueller Report. This seems sort of crazy, but it's true. On page 363 of the report, Mueller discusses President Trump denouncing Michael Cohen, when his former personal attorney had moved to plead guilty and cooperate with the feds. 'He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion serve a full and complete sentence,' the President tweeted. Then there is a section which is blacked out under, 'Harm to Ongoing Matter.' But if you look at the footnote, it refers to a tweet by Mr. Trump, at 10:48 am on December 3, 2018. It's not hard to figure out which tweet that was, as it was one in which the President talks about Roger Stone not flipping and cooperating with the feds. I'm not a lawyer, so it makes no sense to me that printing that tweet could interfere with an ongoing case, but that's one of the redactions made by the Justice Department. 5. When will Robert Mueller talk in public? Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have already sent a letter to Special Counsel Robert Mueller asking him to testify before Congress on his report. Last week, the Attorney General said he would have no opposition to Mueller testifying. Mueller operated in a much different way than previous high-profile independent prosecutors - go back to Watergate and you will see news conferences by Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski; Ken Starr spoke to the press during the Whitewater investigation. But Robert Mueller has been totally silent, ignoring questions on his few visits to Capitol Hill, doing no interviews and saying nothing in public. An effort to get some remarks from him on Sunday after church netted only a 'no comment' - which is pretty much the most we have heard from Mueller during his almost 22 months as Special Counsel.
  • The newly released report on Russian interference in the 2016 elections rejected the claims of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that he received leaked emails from a young employee at the Democratic National Committee, as Special Counsel Robert Mueller said Assange used the murder of DNC worker Seth Rich in an effort to cover up the fact that Russian Intelligence had hacked the DNC emails, and transferred them to WikiLeaks. 'As reports attributing the DNC and DCCC hacks to the Russian government emerged, WikiLeaks and Assange made several public statements apparently designed to obscure the source of the materials that WikiLeaks was releasing,' the Mueller report stated, referring to Assange's claim that Rich was involved. 'The statements about Rich implied falsely that he had been the source of the stolen DNC emails,' the report added on page 56 of the 448 page document released on Thursday by the Justice Department. The redacted version of the Mueller Report reiterated what had been alleged in a previous indictment of a group of Russian Intelligence agents, that they had hacked into a DNC email server starting in May 2016, and posing as 'Guccifer 2.0,' sent an encrypted attachment, 'wk dnc link1.txt.gpg' to WikiLeaks. For the Rich family, it was confirmation that Assange's claim - which had readily been embraced by familiar Republican voices, Fox News, and conservative talk radio - was indeed false, and had created 'unimaginable pain.' The Mueller report said WikiLeaks did not receive the hacked DNC emails and documents from GRU officers until July 14 - four days after Rich had been murdered. 'The file-transfer evidence described above and other information uncovered during the investigation discredit WikiLeaks's claims about the source of material that it posted,' the Mueller report stated. During the campaign, in an August 25, 2016 interview with Fox News cited by Mueller, Assange asserted that Rich - who was murdered on July 10, 2016 - was a 'potential' source of emails from inside the Democratic National Committee. WikiLeaks stuck to that story, even as U.S. investigators began to focus more and more on the ties between Assange and Russian GRU hackers, as WikiLeaks increased the reward for clues to Rich's murder to $130,000 the day before President Donald Trump was inaugurated in January of 2017. Not only did WikiLeaks push the Seth Rich angle - along with Fox News, Infowars, and various conservative talk radio hosts - but so too did the Russians; this tweet was from the Russian Embassy in London in May of 2017. Two days after that tweet from the Russian government, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich used an appearance on 'Fox and Friends' to further spread the theory that Rich had been murdered after giving WikiLeaks thousands of hacked documents from the DNC, as the matter quickly gained the attention of talk radio and conservative commentators. Soon after that Gingrich interview in May of 2017, Fox News retracted the network's original report tying Rich to the leak of materials to WikiLeaks. In the end, investigators concluded all signs pointed to Moscow and Assange, as the Mueller Report said the mentions of Rich were 'designed to obscure the source of the materials that WikiLeaks was releasing,' that being the Russians. Like the Pizzagate conspiracy theory - which claimed that a supporter of Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of a neighborhood pizza parlor in Washington, D.C. - no evidence was ever offered up by Assange and WikiLeaks to support the Rich claim.
  • Thursday's release of a 448 page redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 elections certainly did not end the questions about the investigation, as President Donald Trump labeled it, 'PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!' and Democrats demanded even more answers about what was in the report. First, you can find a link to the report on the website of the Department of Justice. The report is divided into two parts. The first deals with questions of collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia - the Special Counsel found evidence of 'numerous' contacts between them, but not enough to merit charges for any illegal activity. The second part of the report deals with questions about obstruction of justice. In that portion, investigators found that top aides, advisers, and friends of the President routinely ignored his orders to fire people like the Special Counsel and more. Here's more from the fine print of the Mueller report: 1. The first part of the collusion statement used by Barr. The release of the Mueller report allowed a full review of a sentence fragment employed by Attorney General William Barr in his late March letter, which (accurately) said, 'the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. Many reporters had wondered what was in the first part of that statement and why it was not included in Barr's letter. And, starting on page nine, it seemed clear. 'The investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign,' the Mueller report concluded. Then adding the start of the sentence used by Barr: 'Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benfeit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts...' 2. It wasn't just Comey writing memos after talks with Trump. After getting fired as FBI Director, James Comey made public memos which he had written after various talks with President Trump. It's also been reported that former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe did the same thing. Now the Mueller report shows others did, too. Deputy National Security Director K.T. McFarland saved a contemporaneous memo after a discussion with the President in which the Mr. Trump asked McFarland to 'write an internal email denying that the President had directed Flynn to discuss sanctions' with the Russian Ambassador, when McFarland knew the real answer was that Mr. Trump had done exactly that. Then there were top officials at the National Security Agency, who were so alarmed by a phone call with Mr. Trump - they wrote a memo and put it in an NSA safe - with the deputy NSA chief saying it was 'the most unusual thing he had experienced in 40 years of government service.' 3. Aides, advisers, friends, regularly ignore Trump requests. Whether it was on big items like firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, forcing out Attorney General Jeff Sessions, or sending messages to top officials, the Mueller report is chock full of examples where the President tells people to do something - and they refuse to do it - worried it's the wrong move. White House Counsel Don McGahn refused to fire Mueller. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus wouldn't tell Sessions he should leave. Corey Lewandowski wouldn't send a message for the President to Sessions, and even tried to get a White House aide to do it - but he also refused. Then there was this tidbit from former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who had lunch with President Trump, and was told to send along a message to James Comey. This was the same day that Mr. Trump told Comey - after clearing the Oval Office of other officials - that he wanted the feds to 'let this go' when it came to legal issues for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. 4. Rosenstein threatened to 'tell the truth' on Comey firing. After using a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as a pretext to fire FBI Director James Comey - the White House pressed Rosenstein to further explain why Comey had been fired, 'to put out a statement saying that it was Rosenstein's idea to fire Comey.' Rosenstein said that was a 'false story,' and after President Trump called on the phone to ask the Deputy A.G. to do a press conference about the Comey firing, the report says Rosenstein said he would 'tell the truth that Comey's firing was not his idea.' The Mueller report goes along with testimony released by Republicans in recent weeks which depicted Rosenstein as furious with the White House over the Comey firing, convinced that he was 'used' to get rid of the FBI Director. 5. Sarah Huckabee Sanders comments 'not founded on anything.' After President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May of 2017, the White House repeatedly defended the move by saying that ousting Comey was supported by 'countless members of the FBI,' though the White House produced no evidence to reporters back up that assertion. Fast forward a bit over a year to July of 2018, when Sanders was interviewed by investigators, she admitted there was no truth to her assertion from the podium. 'Sanders told this Office that her reference to hearing from 'countless members of the FBI' was a 'slip of the tongue,'' the report stated. Asked about a comment in another press interview about how FBI agents had supposedly lost confidence in Comey, 'Sanders acknowledged to investigators that her comments were not founded on anything.'  6. A series of unknown Mueller cases are still active. While Attorney General William Barr told Congress last month that the Mueller report 'does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public,' the details show a slightly different story. At the end of the report, there are lists of cases transferred to other prosecutors, and information on other matters - uncovered by Mueller - but referred to the Justice Department for possible prosecution. In those two lists, a series of cases were redacted - two cases transferred by Mueller - and 12 other cases in which referrals were made. All of them were redacted for the reason that publicity could damage ongoing investigations, what was officially known as, 'Harm to Ongoing Matter.' Maybe they are cases which have nothing to do with the Russia investigation or with President Trump. But one of the referrals which was not redacted involved Mr. Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen. Technically, these aren't Mueller cases - but they're also still secret. 7. Mueller discredits Wikileaks claim of Seth Rich DNC leak. Along with Pizzagate, the claim by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange that a former DNC staffer was the source of leaked Democratic Party emails was one of the biggest conspiracy theories to emerge from the 2016 campaign. In the report, Mueller's team says file transfer evidence linking Wikileaks to Russian Intelligence lays waste to the claim that Seth Rich had leaked materials to Assange - and may have been murdered as a result. Assange has repeatedly denied any ties to Russian agents, but U.S. Intelligence has long regarded Wikileaks as a 'fence' for Russian Intelligence, and that the two tied themselves together to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. 8. Mueller says witnesses deleted potential evidence. In laying out the evidence put forward in the report, the Special Counsel's office made clear that the Russia probe was hampered because of information which could not be obtained - making it clear that some people under investigation had deleted texts and other electronic communications, 'including some associated with the Trump Campaign.' One example was between former White House aide Steve Bannon and Blackwater founder Erik Prince, who were questioned about a secretive meeting in the Seychelles, which involved Russian figures. Bannon and Prince told different stories - but investigators couldn't see their text messages, because they had simply disappeared from their phones, as both men denied deleting the messages. 'Prince's phone contained no text messages prior to March 2017, though provider records indicate that he and Bannon exchanged dozens of messages,' the report stated. 9. Mueller Report redactions - 'lightly redacted' or more? The evening before the release of the report, officials told a variety of news organizations that the report was 'lightly redacted.' One group looked at it and found redactions of over 170 pages, as there were examples where entire pages were blacked out. The very first redactions in the document came in the Table of Contents - and had to do wtih the 'Trump Campaign and the Dissemination of Hacked Materials,' dealing with stolen Democratic Party emails and Wikileaks. Some items were redacted for grand jury information, investigative techniques, harm to ongoing matters, and third person privacy concerns. 10. Trump's answers to Mueller questions. At the end of the Mueller report, you can read the President's answers to a series of written questions posed by the Special Counsel's office, after they were unable to get the President to sit for an interview, in person. Critics of the President noted derisively that there was a theme in many of his answers. 'I don't recall,' or 'I don't remember,' were phrases found. 'I have no recollection,' and 'I do not remember.' 'I do not recall being aware during the campaign' of any contacts with Wikileaks, the President testified. 'I have no recollection' that any foreign government or entity wanted to support the campaign, Mr. Trump said. 'I have no recollection of being told during the campaign that Vladimir Putin' supported my bid for the White House, the President added.
  • In a redacted 448 page report delivered to Congress Thursday by Attorney General William Barr, Special Counsel Robert Mueller detailed a series of actions by President Donald Trump to rein in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, clearly stating that while Mr. Trump tried to undermine the Russia investigation, his efforts were stymied mainly because top aides and other government officials ignored his demands for action. Prime among them was White House Counsel Don McGahn, who told investigators that the President ordered him to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller in June of 2017, soon after press reports emerged that the President was under investigation for possible obstruction of justice. 'McGahn did not carry out the direction, however, deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre,' referring to the  episode in the Watergate investigation where President Richard Nixon fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Later, when press reports emerged stating that the President has ordered McGahn to fire Mueller, the report says the President then 'directed White House officials to tell McGahn to dispute the story and create a record stating he had not been ordered to have the Special Counsel removed.' McGahn again refused to follow the President's order - defying him in an Oval Office meeting. 'McGahn refused to back away from what he remembered happening and perceived the President to be testing his mettle,' the report concluded. There were other stories of top aides similarly ignoring the President, such as Corey Lewandowski, who was told by Mr. Trump to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions to publicly state that the Russia investigation was 'very unfair' to Mr. Trump. First in June of 2017, then again a month later, Mr. Trump used a private meeting to press Lewandowski - an outside adviser - to get Sessions 'to limit the Special Counsel investigation to future election interference.' But like the White House Counsel, Lewandowski balked, and refused to follow the President's request, going so far as to ask a senior White House official - Rich Dearborn - to do the dirty work for him. 'Dearborn was uncomfortable with the task and did not follow through,' the report stated. The report also details how the President tried to lobby senior leaders of the U.S. Intelligence Community to help him limit the Russia probe, as Mr. Trump complained to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, his daily intelligence briefers, and top officials at the National Security Agency. In late March of 2017, the President complained directly to DNI Coats, who counseled that it would be best to allow the investigations to 'run their course,' and not interfere with the work of FBI Director James Comey. While Coats did not tell investigators that he felt directly pressured to act, his top aides told a different story, that 'Coats was upset because the President has asked him to contact Comey to convince him there was nothing to the Russia investigation.' Mr. Trump also called the head of the National Security Agency, Admiral Mike Rogers, to weigh in on the Russia investigation - a conversation that so alarmed Rogers and a top deputy that they immediately drafted a memo, and placed it in an NSA safe to memorialize the communications with the President, much as Comey had done after his own meetings with Mr. Trump. Intelligence officials also said the President complained about the Russia investigation during his daily briefings, and asking for messages of support in the news media. 'On at least two occasions, the President began Presidential Daily Briefings by stating that there was no collusion with Russia and he hoped a press statement to that effect could be issued,' the report said. NSA chief Rogers recalled a private talk with Mr. Trump where the President vented his frustration, 'and said something like the 'Russia thing has got to go away.'' In another example from July of 2017, President Trump was ready to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, but encountered resistance from White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. 'Even though Priebus did not intend to carry out the President's directive, he told the President he would get Sessions to resign,' the report stated. Priebus later told the President that Sessions could not be ousted, because other top officials - including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand would also resign - setting off a Saturday Night Massacre type of situation for President Trump. In the end, the Mueller investigation found that top aides to the President had saved Mr. Trump from possible legal jeopardy, mainly by ignoring his demands on the Russia investigation. 'The President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,' the Mueller report concluded. Top Democrats in Congress immediately made clear they want more information about the obstruction matters. 'As we continue to review the report, one thing is clear: Attorney General Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice while Mueller's report appears to undercut that finding,' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. Not surprisingly, the White House saw things differently, as the redacted version of the Mueller report was issued. On the issue of collusion, the Mueller report stated the investigation 'identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign' - but that there was no evidence that the campaign had 'conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.' Mueller seems likely to be asked directly about his investigation in May, as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said he would ask Mueller to testify next month. Attorney General Barr is already scheduled for two days of testimony before the House and Senate on May 1 and May 2.
  • Official Washington is focused primarily today on the release of a redacted version of a report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed almost two years ago by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 elections, a probe which has generated fierce criticism since the outset by President Donald Trump and many of his political allies. First, this is the link to the 448 page Mueller report. There are two parts to the report - Volume 1 covers questions about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.  Volume 2 covers matters related to possible obstruction of justice by the President on the Russia probe. Here's where we stand: + 1:20 pm - The Mueller report raises the specter that associates of the Trump campaign and/or allies of the President may have deleted emails and other electronic evidence, which impeded the Mueller investigation. + 1:10 pm - While the Special Counsel was never able to get an in-person interview with the President, this report does include his written answers to questions submitted by the Mueller legal team. + 1:00 pm - The report goes into a lot of detail about the interactions between President Trump and former FBI Director James Comey, which ultimately resulted in Comey's firing in May of 2017.   + 12:50 pm - While Attorney General Barr talked earlier today of all the cooperation that the White House had provided in the investigation, the Mueller reports paints a different picture, especially when it comes to the question of getting testimony from President Trump.  The Special Counsel's office determined that an effort to subpoena the President would require an enormous amount of legal effort and time, even though simple written responses from President Trump were viewed as insufficient.  “We viewed the written answers to be inadequate,” the report stated. + 12:30 pm - The report details a number of contacts and calls made by the President to top intelligence officials, asking for their help in refuting the Trump-Russia story.  Top officials at the National Security Agency were so alarmed that they immediately wrote out a memo after the conversation, and put it in a safe.   Like White House aides, intelligence officials basically ignored the President's demand for help. + 12:10 pm - The Mueller report basically says that because top aides to the President consistently refused to carry out his orders to rein in - or even terminate - the Russia investigation, they saved the President from committing illegal acts, and obstruction of justice. + 12:00 pm - As mentioned earlier, President Trump had ordered his White House Counsel to fire Robert Mueller.  Don McGahn had refused.  Months later, the issue surfaced in the press, and the Mueller report says the President then demanded that McGahn deny the reports.  McGahn refused. + 11:55 am - The Mueller report says President Trump personally intervened to change a statement from his son, Donald Trump, Jr., about the infamous Trump Tower meeting, deleting a reference to how the meeting was to offer information about Hillary Clinton, and instead saying the meeting was about adoption policies.  + 11:50 am - After telling the White House Counsel to fire Mueller in June of 2017, President Trump kept pressing aides to help limit the Russia probe.  He asked Corey Lewandowski to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions to publicly declare the Russia probe, “very unfair.”  Lewandowski said he would do that, but refused - and tried to get another aide to do the same thing, who also refused. + 11:40 am - As the Mueller report was being released, President Trump was making comments about it during a White House event with wounded warriors.  + 11:35 am - In testimony from White House Counsel Don McGahn, the Mueller report spells out how President Trump ordered his top lawyer to fire the Special Counsel in 2017, once stories emerged that the President was under investigation for possible obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation. + 11:30 am - A reminder in the report from the Special Counsel that a number of people connected to the Trump campaign lied about their contacts during and after the election when questioned by the feds. + 11:25 am - Here is the conclusion of Special Counsel Mueller when it comes to whether President Trump should have been charged with Obstruction of Justice: + 11:20 am - While there were indications the report was 'lightly redacted,' that's not the case in some areas, where entire pages were blacked out. + 11:10 am - The redactions give us little new information on links between the Trump campaign and Wikileaks. + 11:06 am - The first redaction is in the table of contents, dealing with materials linked to Wikileaks and the Trump Campaign. + 11:05 am - The Mueller report has been released.  It is 448 pages. + 11:00 am - Don't forget, this report is not just about President Trump.  It also will spill into the race among Democrats to try to replace him. + 10:55 am - My ten year old kid asks me, “Have they released the Mueller report yet?”  Soon, I tell him. + 10:50 am - President Trump's scheduled 10:30 am event with Wounder Warriors at the White House still has not started.  With the Mueller report scheduled to be delivered to Congress at 11 am, it will be interesting to see if the President is speaking at that moment.  A President has the power to dominate the airwaves in a way that no other person can in the United States. + 10:45 am - As we await the exact details of the Mueller report, it is a good time to remember how important actual documents are in any investigation, and how politicians deal with public discussion of that material.  This from one House Democrat from Florida: + 10:40 am - Donald Trump Jr. did not mention his initial reaction to the offer of 'dirt' on Hillary Clinton, which he welcomed.  + 10:35 am - President Trump's son is echoing the declarations of his father as the Mueller report is released. + 10:30 am - Democrats are furious about the news conference of Attorney General Barr, claiming it was nothing more than Barr acting like President Trump's defense lawyer. + 10:25 am - Not long after the Attorney General said he had no opposition to the idea, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are now officially asking for public testimony from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. + 10:20 am - Here is how the Barr news conference ended. + 10:15 am - The Trump White House is ready for today.  This was tweeted out soon after the end of the Barr news conference. + 10:10 am - Even on Fox News, there were not universally good reviews for the Attorney General. + 10:05 am - Here's some of the Attorney General's news conference. + 10:00 am - The news conference ends on a somewhat testy note, as the Attorney General sparred with reporters over how he characterized the impact of the investigation on President Trump, labeling the probe an 'unprecedented situation.' + 9:55 am - Barr says he has no opposition to the idea of Special Counsel Mueller testifying before Congress. + 9:50 am - Barr confirms that the President's legal team was allowed to see the Mueller report before Congress. + 9:45 am - Here is a link to Barr's statement he is giving to reporters. + 9:40 am - In his news conference, the Attorney General keeps repeating a main theme over and over again - that there was no collusion or coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.  “The Special Counsel did not find any conspiracy,” Barr says. “So, that's the bottom line.” + 9:35 am - Attorney General William Barr says the redacted report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be delivered to Congress at 11 am, and then it will be posted on line for the public to read. + 9:25 am - As we wait for the news conference of Attorney General William Barr, Democrats are denouncing Barr, ridiculing his decision to hold this session with reporters before the report is even released. + 9:20 am - President Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is making his own noise today, saying he's ready to fill in any of the blanks left by redactions in the Mueller report.  Cohen's lawyer - Lanny Davis - was emphasizing the same as well. + 9:10 am - A quick reminder of what we know so far about the Russia investigation.  We know the basics already from the charges brought - or not brought by the Special Counsel.  Russian intelligence agents hacked Democratic Party emails and documents, and gave them to Wikileaks during the campaign. There were numerous contacts between Russians and people affiliated with the Trump campaign, both before and after the elections. But we also know that no indictments were ever returned for any Trump-Russia conspiracy, or collusion.  + 9:05 am - Congress is not in session this week, but the miracle of social media will make it very easy for lawmakers to weigh in on today's events as they transpire.  Republicans are backing the President, while Democrats are raising questions about the actions of Attorney General William Barr, who is scheduled to hold a news conference at 9:30, before the release of the report. + 9:00 am - It's been a busy morning on Twitter for President Trump, who has been again voicing his displeasure with the Mueller investigation, and re-tweeting items related to Hillary Clinton and the investigation of her emails from her time as Secretary of State.