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Atty Gen. Jeff Sessions confirms to Howie Carr: DOJ investigating Bruce Ohr’s Steele Dossier ties

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The U.S. attorney general told Boston talk show host Howie Carr the Justice Department is investigating career government attorney Bruce G. Ohr regarding his professional conduct, which already cost him his position as associate deputy attorney general with an office at “Main Justice” and could lead to his termination.

“I hate to second guess you, Mr. Attorney General, but why isn’t he just fired,” asked Howie Carr, who hosts the syndicated program, which is the top-rated talk show in Boston and New England.

“It now turns out that he was meeting with the people who did this dirty dossier–I mean these people, who were paid and during the campaign last year, he was meeting with people, who were basically taking money from Hillary Clinton to produce this fake dossier–shouldn’t that be a firing offense?” he asked.

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The “dossier” is the collection of negative stories about Donald J. Trump that purport to document his personal and business dealings with Russians. The dossier was produced by GPS Fusion, a Washington-based opposition research firm, and supplemented by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

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Attorney General Jefferson B. “Jeff” Sessions, the country’s top law enforcement officer, told Carr he knows Ohr and has worked with him in his capacity leading the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, a position he continues to hold.

The former Alabama senator said he did not know for certain if Ohr’s interactions with political opponents of the president were a firing office.

“We’re going to look at that,” he said. “It is being looked at and if it requires discipline it will be carried out.”

As a career employee of the federal government, Ohr has rights that must be respected, he said.

“But, he has been removed from a key, sensitive spot and–I guess that’s all I can tell you at this time now,” he said. “It is not a little matter and we’re going to look at it, I can guarantee you that.”

Next, Carr moved onto the subject of leaks damaging to the president. “Do you understand how frustrated we are about this?” he asked. “There are never any pro-Trump leaks–these people in the Deep State, they seem to be running amok, when are you guys going to get a handle on this?”

“Well, I do, I do feel the frustration and I do think people have a right to be concerned, but often we are not able to do something the very day something hits the newspapers–we’ve got to work at it a little bit to make sure we know what we are doing.”

Carr asked the attorney general why the president or the administration release the records of the FBI and Justice Department’s surveillance of members of the Trump campaign and his transition team. “Why are they stonewalling these congressional committees?”are tey

“Things involving FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, do have strict laws involving security and not making those things public,” he said.

“Some of the problems that Congress is complaining about is leaking or revealing information that shouldn’t’ve been revealed–we need to do the right thing,” he said.

“We need to go as far as we possibly can in cooperating with Congress and we are going to do that–Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein is working on that–we’re going to go as far as we can,” he said.”

Sessions said he is very much in control of the Justice Departement but Rosenstein is the “attorney general,” when it comes to dealing with Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

“Can you un-recuse yourself at some point to reign these people in–the Deep State people, the Clinton people, the Obama people–people like Strzok and his girlfriend Lisa Page?” Carr asked.

Peter P. Strzok Jr., one of the FBI’s most senior counter-intelligence experts, was Mueller’s second-in-command until his dismissal during the summer. His paramour Page is a Justice Department attorney, who was also dismissed from the Mueller team. Page returned to her staff position working for FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Strzok is currently assigned to the FBI’s human resources section.

Sessions said he had to recuse himself from the probe of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government because he was a member of the Trump campaign team and the recusal was in keeping with the DOJ’s code of professional conduct.

As for Strzok, the attorney general said Mueller made the decision to remove him from the probe. “He did remove Strzok and hopefully, anything else that deserves action–will be taken.”

Listen to the entire segment with Howie Carr and Attorney General Jefferson B. “Jeff” Sessions here:

 

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Turkey Human Rights, Crackdown on Press Freedom Comes Under Renewed Scrutiny in Geneva

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Last week, the UK-based International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR)and the Press Emblem Campaign held an information meeting in Geneva, to coincide with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Turkey over hate crimes, minority, and LGBT rights, and press freedoms with a specific focus on the nation’s crackdown on these rights during the failed 2016 coup and the emergency rule that followed during which the government allegedly used its security powers to arrest thousands of people who opposed it.

Turkey’s human rights record was last reviewed in 2015 during the UPR. This was the third time in 10 years that Turkey’s record has come under review

Diplomats, minister, prominent members of Turkish media and human rights defenders – including those who have been forced into exile – were present at the event. Also in attendance was former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice Ambassador Stephen Rapp. Louise Pyne Jones, head of research, International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR) moderated the event. Two panels were held. The first was called “Press Freedom” and included Yavuz Baydar, editor-in-chief of Ahval; Evin Baris Altintas, journalist and blogger; and Massimo Frigo; senior Legal Advisor for International Commission for Jurists (ICJ). The second panel, “Human Rights Defenders,” included Dr. Sebnem Korur Fincanci; president of the Human Rights Foundation in Turkey; Nurcan Baysal, award-winning Turkish Human Rights Defender and Journalist; and Anne van Wezel, former co-chair EESC EU-Turkey Joint Consultative Committee.

Following an attempted, and failed, “coup” against the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party in 2016, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused many of his opponents and naysayers, including journalists who were critical of him and his government, of supporting terrorism and prosecuted many of them. Erdogan also suggested that the attempted coup was the work of exiled Imam Fethullah Gulen and his movement, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization. Turkey has asked for the United States to extradite Gulen. Gulen has been living in the United States in a self-imposed exile since 1999. Over 250 people died as a result of the failed coup attempt.

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Soon after the coup, Turkey implemented a state of emergency (SOE) which it said: “was put into effect in order to ensure the continuity of effective implementation of the measures for the protection of the rights and freedoms of our citizens, democracy and the rule of law.” However, the AK Party’s critics have maintained that the AK Party used the umbrella of its broader emergency powers and continuously postponed ending that state of emergency, in an attempt to destroy its political opposition.

Many journalists were apprehended under this state of emergency until it was lifted on July 19, 2018. As such, for three straight years, and up until 2019, the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Turkey as the worst jailer of journalists in the world. According to Turkish, English, and Arabic-language news site Ahval, when China jailed 48 journalists to Turkey’s 47.

Nurcan Baysal, an award-winning Kurdish Human Rights Defender, Journalist, and contributor to Ahval, said she was even cautious with the words she used on the panel discussion for fear of punishment by the Turkish government. “We are censoring ourselves because of these fears,” Baysal said. “For example, before coming here I asked myself if I should use certain words, should I use the word invasion, or should I use the word war, because today in Turkey even to say war is forbidden,” she said. “Everything that I say has an effect on not only my life but of the lives of my children and family.”

Ahval editor in chief Yavuz Baydar said, “No state or power can decide who is a journalist, it is the domain for professional organizations and should always be separate from power.”

According to the IOHR, “In the previous UPR cycle of Turkey, the Turkish government officially supported 14 recommendations related to strengthening the legal framework on freedom of expression and 5 recommendations specifically related to bringing terrorism legislation in line with international human rights standards.

Hugh Williamson, the Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch recently said, “The huge number of journalists, politicians, and perceived government critics in prison and on trial flies in the face of the Turkish government’s public statements about the state of human rights in the country “Turkey’s disregard of human rights is a disservice to its citizens, who deserve to live with dignity and freedom.”

Meanwhile, Turkey’s state-run pro-government newspaper the Daily Sabah put out propaganda about the Erdogan government writing, “U.N. Human Rights Council highlighted Turkey’s achievements in the fields of judiciary, human rights and humanitarian causes on Tuesday during a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) meeting in Geneva.”

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