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The Latest News about Government and Politics

    The top lawmakers on two House committees will interview Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein next week about reports that he had discussed secretly recording President Donald Trump. The announcement on Thursday that Rosenstein will sit for a transcribed interview Oct. 24 comes after weeks of negotiations over the meeting. The two Republican chairmen and top Democrats on the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees will interview him. Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus had originally pushed for Rosenstein to appear but will be left out of the meeting, according to the terms laid out by the panels. Judiciary Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., and Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said in a statement that the interview will be held in a secure room and that a transcript will be released after the intelligence community reviews it for classified information. There was speculation weeks ago that Rosenstein would be fired or would resign following a September New York Times report that he had discussed secretly recording the president last year to expose chaos at the White House. The report said Rosenstein also discussed invoking constitutional provisions to remove Trump from office. Rosenstein went to the White House days after the report, expecting to be fired, but his job was spared, and he later flew with Trump on Air Force One to an international police chiefs' conference in Florida. The president declared his job safe, saying he was 'not making any changes.' 'We just had a very nice talk,' Trump told reporters. 'We actually get along.' Trump and Rosenstein have had an up-and-down relationship, though the deputy has been spared the brunt of the anger directed at his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump's relationship with Sessions deteriorated after the attorney general recused himself from the Russia investigation. Goodlatte said last month that 'there are many questions we have for Mr. Rosenstein, including questions about allegations made against him in a recent news article. We need to get to the bottom of these very serious claims.' North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, the head of the House Freedom Caucus, initially led the push to bring Rosenstein to Capitol Hill. On Thursday, he tweeted that Rosenstein 'should resign immediately.' 'He has not cooperated with Congress, failed to be transparent about his actions, and shown a lack of candor in the way he's characterized a number of events,' Meadows tweeted. He did not elaborate or provide evidence for those claims. Democrats have called the meeting with Rosenstein part of a Republican effort to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. Because of Sessions' recusal, Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel and oversees that investigation. ___ Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.
  • As a former FBI agent was sentenced to 4 years in prison Thursday in Minnesota for disclosing classified information to the news media, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions hailed the latest court moves against leakers in the federal government, saying the Trump Administration is waging what may be ‘the most aggressive campaign against leaks’ in the history of the Department of Justice. “Today’s sentence should be a warning to every would-be leaker in the federal government that if they disclose classified information, they will pay a high price,” Sessions said in a statement, making clear that government leakers will be ‘prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and punished.’ Terry Albury, the Minneapolis FBI agent arrested for leaking classified information to the Intercept, gets four years in prison. 'We are conducting perhaps the most aggressive campaign against leaks in Department history,' AG Sessions says in statement: https://t.co/QBFKUUiXy8 — Kevin Collier (@kevincollier) October 18, 2018 The Sessions statement came after a busy week on the leak front for the feds: + On Monday, a former employee of the Senate Intelligence Committee plead guilty to lying to the FBI about leaks to a reporter. + Wednesday, a Department of Treasury official was charged with leaking banking activity reports to a reporter which was linked to the Russia investigation. + Today, former FBI agent Terry Albury was sentenced to four years of jail time for leaking national security material to the Intercept. From press reports in recent days, it is obvious that more leak investigations are underway as well. + The Trump Administration has sent a subpoena to an immigration attorney, trying to find out how leaked an internal government memo from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, on how asylum applications would be handled for domestic violence victims. + The charges this week against a Treasury Department employee for leaking “Suspicious Activity Banking” reports shows another official in the same office had contacts with the news media as well. + Earlier this week, Attorney General Sessions told the Washington Times that there were 27 ongoing leak investigations at the Department of Justice. + Back in February, Sessions vowed that the Justice Department was going “aggressively” to find out who leaked information about transcripts of phone conversations involving former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
  • Contradicting a claim by a Cabinet secretary, the Interior Department said Thursday that a political appointee at the Department of Housing and Urban Development will not be reassigned to lead an internal watchdog agency at Interior. Spokeswoman Heather Swift said in a statement that an email sent by HUD Secretary Ben Carson last week 'had false information in it.' Carson had said in the Oct. 12 email that assistant HUD secretary Suzanne Israel Tufts would take over as acting inspector general at Interior. Tufts would have replaced Mary Kendall, who's been acting inspector general since 2009. The White House referred Tufts to Interior 'as a potential candidate' for a job in the inspector general's office, Swift said, but 'at the end of the day, she was not offered a job at Interior.' It is unusual for a political appointee to be assigned to another agency, especially an inspector general's office. Kendall's oversees about 265 employees, including 80 investigators. They conduct a wide range of inquiries at Interior, which oversees more than 245 million acres (380,000 square miles) of public lands, including 417 units in the national park system. Meanwhile, the inspector general's office says in a new report that Interior spent more than $25,000 providing security for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his wife when they took an August 2017 vacation to Turkey and Greece. The report, obtained by The Associated Press, said the decision to provide protection was made by a supervisor at the U.S. Park Police after Zinke approached her and asked whether she felt it would be safe for him to travel through Istanbul. The supervisor determined a protective detail was warranted because of an airport bombing in 2016 and a general terrorist threat in the city. Zinke told investigators he did not ask for the security detail. 'They're paid to do the threat assessment,' Zinke said of the park police staff. 'I tend not to tell them what to do. ' The report also said that despite an Interior Department policy that prohibits nongovernment officials from riding in government vehicles, Zinke's wife, Lolita, was allowed to ride in government vehicles with him. Investigators noted that the Zinkes reimbursed the agency for costs associated with her travel in department vehicles when it was required, and that the secretary cannot use personal vehicles because of his security detail. The decision allowing Lolita Zinke to ride in government vehicles was made by agency lawyers. The uncertainty over the leadership over the inspector general's office comes as Zinke is under investigation on other fronts, including his involvement in a Montana land deal with the head of an energy services company that does business with the department. Zinke, a Republican, is a former Montana congressman. Democrats had seized on the apparent transfer of Tufts, calling her unqualified and her appointment unprecedented. In a letter Thursday, before Interior announced the transfer would not go through, Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee blasted the move. 'The mere threat of replacing an IG when the head of the agency it oversees is under heavy scrutiny will send a signal to current and future IGs throughout the federal government that releasing unfavorable findings may threaten their job,' Democrats wrote. The possible transfer 'creates a permanent disincentive for the candor required for an effective IG and severs the independence that is the foundation of effective oversight over federal government waste, fraud and abuse,' they said. The letter is signed by four Democrats on the Resources panel, including Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, the committee's top Democrat.
  • Sen. Cory Booker opened his first trip to South Carolina as a potential presidential contender Thursday by blasting President Donald Trump for wrecking America's standing on the world stage. Speaking to reporters gathered at Allen University in downtown Columbia, the New Jersey Democrat expressed concerns about the Trump administration's handling of the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who Turkish officials have said was murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul more than two weeks ago. 'I'm worried about efforts to cover this up,' Booker said. 'I'm worried about our administration being willing to just go along to get along because of a lot of the financial interests we might have.' Booker made his assessment after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefed Trump on his visit to Turkey. Pompeo said he told Trump the Saudi government should have more time to complete its own investigation. The senator is just one of several potential White House contenders swarming South Carolina, which holds the first presidential primary in the South. He will speak later Thursday at a state party dinner in Orangeburg. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in Columbia earlier Thursday for a fundraiser for local Democrats. California Sen. Kamala Harris and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ran for the Democratic nomination unsuccessfully in 2016, are scheduled to be in the state Friday and Saturday, respectively. Former Vice President Joe Biden was in the state last weekend. At his first stop Thursday, Booker painted a dire-yet-hopeful image of a country that has long struggled to reach its potential. 'If America hasn't broken your heart, you don't love her enough,' the senator told several hundred students at Allen, a private historically black college. He offered a long list of problems from the wealth gap between whites and black and escalating college costs to mass incarcerations and the infant mortality rate. But he didn't blame Trump. 'The Republicans didn't do this to us. We did it to ourselves,' he said, urging the mostly young audience to honor earlier generations of civil rights activists by voting. Booker said afterward that he sees the 2018 midterms as a 'reaction' to Trump that goes beyond the Democratic base. He cited enthusiasm among independent and even Republican women 'who are outraged by what's going on.' While he didn't say when he'll announce his next political moves, Booker was quick to tell reporters of his connections to South Carolina, starting with his family vacationing in Hilton Head when he was a child. 'My lineage goes down into the South and the same experiences that many African-Americans here have,' he said, adding that he's a former mayor of 'a majority black city' and 'the only senator in Washington who lives in a majority black neighborhood.' The other two black senators are Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina and Harris, Booker's potential White House primary rival. Advisers to Booker, Harris and other potential Democratic hopefuls have said for months that they learned lessons from Democrats' 2008 and 2016 fights. In both those instances, the top contenders split overwhelmingly white Iowa and New Hampshire. But in 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama trounced Hillary Clinton in South Carolina, largely on the strength of the black vote, and went on to sweep the rest of the South and amass a delegate lead he would never relinquish. Clinton did the same thing to Sanders in 2016. ------ Follow Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP.
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump's response to missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi (all times local): 4:05 p.m. President Donald Trump says it 'certainly looks' as though missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead. Trump did not say Thursday what he based his conclusion on. But he says the consequences for the Saudis 'will have to be very severe' if they are found to have killed him. Trump has previously warned that the kingdom will face 'severe punishment' from the U.S. if it is determined that Saudi Arabia was responsible for Khashoggi's death. Khashoggi hasn't been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul more than two weeks ago. Turkish authorities say he was killed and dismembered. The Saudis have denied involvement. Both the Turkish and Saudi governments are conducting separate investigations into Khashoggi's disappearance. ___ 11:10 a.m. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he told Saudi Arabia's rulers that the U.S. takes 'very seriously' the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and will await the outcome of investigations by the kingdom and Turkey before deciding how the U.S. will respond. Pompeo addressed reporters Thursday after briefing President Donald Trump at the White House on his talks with leaders in Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Pompeo says the Saudis assured him they will conduct a 'complete, thorough' investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance. Khashoggi is feared dead after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul more than two weeks ago. Turkish authorities say he was killed. The Saudis have denied involvement. In his comments to reporters, Pompeo said he also stressed the 'longstanding strategic relationship' between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
  • Alaska Gov. Bill Walker said Thursday his re-election campaign is moving ahead but is taking it 'a day at a time' after being rocked this week by the abrupt resignation of Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott. Mallott resigned Tuesday over what Walker has described as an inappropriate overture to a woman. Mallott apologized though few details have been released. Walker said he is honoring the wishes of the woman involved. Walker campaign manager John-Henry Heckendorn has said the campaign was in talks with Democratic rival Mark Begich about a 'path forward for Alaska,' but declined to elaborate when asked about it Thursday. Begich's campaign manager has not returned messages. Walker is a Republican-turned-independent who was elected with Democratic support in 2014. He is locked in a tough three-way re-election fight. Some Democrats and independents have worried that he and Begich will split the vote, giving the race to Republican Mike Dunleavy, the presumed front runner. During a debate Thursday, Dunleavy asked Begich if he was in negotiations with Walker for one of them to drop out before the Nov. 6 election. 'I'd like you to drop out,' Begich said to laughter. Pressed further by Dunleavy, Begich said: 'There's no deals.' Walker said the Republican Party contacted him to be their candidate after Dunleavy had filed. 'There's all sorts of conversations going on out there,' he said. Tuckerman Babcock, chairman of the state GOP, said he assumed Walker was joking. He said Walker's chief of staff, Scott Kendall, had asked if Walker would be welcomed to run or given a fair shot if he were to run as a Republican. Babcock said he told him Walker was free to file as a Republican if he wished. Babcock chalked up the inquiry to due diligence on behalf of Walker's people as Walker weighed his options. The teaming of Walker and Mallott in 2014 was billed as a 'unity' ticket; Mallott is a Democrat. Their partnership was a central element of Walker's first term. During an Alaska Federation of Natives conference speech in Anchorage Thursday, Walker described Mallott as his 'brother and my closest friend and my soul mate and that will not change.' Mallott did the right thing by taking responsibility, he said, adding later that his administration respects and believes women. Some Walker supporters have wanted him to be clear about his campaign plans with early voting starting Monday. Valerie Davidson, who preceded Walker on the Alaska Federation of Natives conference stage with a rousing speech Thursday, replaced Mallott as lieutenant governor and as Walker's running mate. At one point Walker told reporters Thursday the campaign was 'full steam ahead.' Later, he was more measured. 'We're going to play it a day at a time, see what happens, where we are,' he said. 'At this point, I don't have any indication that anything's going to change.' ___ Associated Press reporter Mark Thiessen contributed from Anchorage, Alaska.
  • Weeks before the 2016 election, federal officials started making mysterious calls to the head of elections in Inyo County, California. They asked her to contact them if she noticed anything unusual. But they wouldn't elaborate. 'I asked them: 'How am I going to be able to protect against it if I don't know what it is?'' said the official, Kammi Foote. Now, Foote communicates regularly with federal officials. They came to her small county of about 10,000 registered voters to analyze the security of her ballot system. She participates in state and federal information-sharing groups that didn't exist two years ago and is getting a sensor that can help detect unwanted intrusions. 'I'm feeling optimistic,' Foote said about the Nov. 6 election. 'I feel like the entire field of election administration has grown and matured in their ability to understand the cyber component and cyberthreats.' Election officials and federal cybersecurity agents alike tout improved collaboration aimed at confronting and deterring election tampering. Granted, the only way to go was up: In 2016, amid Russian meddling, federal officials were accused first of being too tight-lipped on intelligence about possible hacking into state systems and later for trying to seize control from the states. Officials from Homeland Security, the department tasked with helping states secure elections, say the midterms will be the most secure vote in the modern era. They said they haven't yet seen the type of infiltrations that happened in 2016. Still, cybersecurity experts aren't so sure the improved security and local-federal cooperation will be enough, given the breadth of threats that electoral systems may face. States run elections, a decentralized process that makes it harder for anyone to conduct a nationwide attack on the electoral system. The downside is there is no national playbook. The 10,000 or so election jurisdictions use a combination of paper ballots scanned into computers, entirely computerized ballots stored online and old-school paper ballots, marked and hand-counted by humans. With the realization that Russian-backed agents were interfering with the 2016 vote, then-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson designated election systems as 'critical infrastructure,' a change that allowed the federal government more leeway to help states. There is no evidence that votes were altered in 2016, but intelligence officials say all 50 states had some type of intrusion, though only a few were compromised, like in Illinois, where records on 90,000 voters had been downloaded. Johnson's decision irked some local officials concerned about the federal government meddling in their elections. 'We don't like to be told what to do without any say,' said John Merrill, Alabama's secretary of state. Federal officials concede the beginning was rocky. 'Communication was not a key element of the initial rollout,' Christopher Krebs, Homeland Security's cybersecurity chief, said at a recent election security conference. 'When I look at where we are right now, the single most important factor that has been established ... with our state and local partners is trust.' States are managing antiquated machinery, built by a few unregulated and secretive vendors. The outdated software is highly vulnerable to cyberattacks. Online voter registration databases are frequent targets. Election systems are constantly under fire — efforts to steal sensitive data, disrupt services and undermine voter confidence. 'We experience thousands of attempts every day,' Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos said. In one example, he said his state recently reported that it had blocked two intrusion attempts into its online voter registration database. The federal government, using data from the sensors, traced the attempts to addresses that originated in Russia. State election officials aren't cyber experts and government jobs don't pay enough to attract high-level private-sector information technology workers. To assist states, Homeland Security offered them vulnerability assessments and help responding to incidents — so far, 37 states have signed up. Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has urged states to make their systems auditable. Her department has funded 'Albert sensors,' systems that can detect attempts to hack into networks. So far, 31 states and 61 counties have installed sensors. 'They are valuable because they give visibility to us, to DHS about what's going on,' said John Gilligan, executive chairman of the Center for Internet Security, a cybersecurity venture funded by government, academia and the private sector. State officials say the sensors, while limited, work to paint a picture of what's happening across the country.   'It doesn't offer a specific defense,' said Noah Praetz, elections director for Cook County, Illinois. 'But it does offer the potential for information.'   Cybersecurity experts warn, however, that the Albert sensors won't detect all forms of intrusion. 'If something more sophisticated gets in ... it's going to be very, very difficult to detect them,' said Bob Stasio, a former National Security Agency supervisor.  The department this year created the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center to help state and local election jurisdictions share information on cyberthreats and security. The Center for Internet Security runs it, and more than 1,100 counties in 50 states are signed up. Foote, of Inyo County, said her partnerships with other states have increased her trust of federal officials. She reached out to colleagues in Colorado when she invited federal agents into her county. 'I was still nervous about it,' she said. 'But when they got here, what really set my mind at ease was these were not partisan, ideologue people. These are the rank-and-file. They're experts in cybersecurity.' Federal officials are handing out security clearances to state and local officials so some can read in on classified briefings, but so far, fewer than 100 have been given. And local officials still know very little about what happened in 2016. 'I never received any information and still — to this day — I have no inside access to anything more than what's reported in the media and the general public on what those threats are,' Foote said. ___ Associated Press writers Deb Riechmann in Washington, Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta, Frank Bajak in Boston and Wilson Ring in Montpelier, Vermont, contributed to this report.
  • Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke is getting to make his case for ousting Republican Sen. Ted Cruz during a nationally televised, solo town hall on CNN. The event Thursday night comes two days after the El Paso congressman scrapped his usual optimistic, bipartisan message and criticized Cruz sharply during their last scheduled debate in San Antonio. An ex-punk rocker giving up his congressional seat to challenge Cruz, O'Rourke has shattered fundraising records and attracted glowing national attention as he tries to become Texas' first Democrat to win statewide office since 1994. But polls that once showed him staying close now have Cruz pulling away. CNN previously offered both candidates separate town halls, but Cruz declined. The senator later said he'd like to make Thursday's event a debate, but O'Rourke didn't agree.
  • Winning re-election while indicted is a rare feat in U.S. history. But two Republican congressmen are attempting to do just that in November's midterm elections: Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York. After pleading not guilty in August to separate federal charges, both congressmen are entering the final weeks of the campaign doing what they can to lay low. They have largely avoided the media and refused to debate their opponents. Both declined repeated requests to comment for this story. Instead, they have mostly appeared at Republican-friendly events, and run attack ads against their Democratic challengers that some say seek to exploit racial prejudice and xenophobia. Indictments and even jail time have not always ended political careers. A few have won re-election while facing criminal charges and some ended up exonerated. Others were convicted and later resigned. But the Collins and Hunter contests are emerging as a fresh test of partisanship in the Trump era. Some voters may look past such a blemish this year to ensure that their preferred party remains in power. 'If you look at the question of partisanship, it sort of makes sense to me why Republican voters would prefer a Republican under indictment to a Democrat,' said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball, a nonpartisan analytical newsletter at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. 'Two decades ago, partisanship was not as strong, and (they) would have been in more trouble.' Collins, 68, initially suspended his campaign after being charged with insider trading that prosecutors say helped his son and others avert nearly $800,000 in stock losses. But he reversed course over the difficulty in removing his name from the ballot, saying the stakes 'are too high' to allow a Democrat to take the congressional seat he has held for three terms. Democrats are trying to pick up 23 seats nationwide to win control of the House. Don Lloyd, a 70-year-old retired engineer who lives in Eden, New York, said he'll vote for Collins even though he believes he should not be running. 'But what am I really voting for? I'm voting for a Republican,' Lloyd said. 'And let's face it, the election isn't about Chris Collins. It's about Trump. ... I'm supporting the Republican Party.' Collins came under fire for a TV ad that showed his Democratic opponent, Nate McMurray, speaking Korean, over a backdrop of ominous music, a portrait of the North Korean dictator and captions falsely implying he was talking about sending American jobs to Asia. McMurray has studied and taught law in South Korea and is married to a woman from South Korea. In California, Hunter and his wife face a 60-count indictment accusing them of using more than $250,000 in campaign funds for everything from a family trip to Italy to Costco shopping sprees and then trying to hide the illegal spending in government records as donations to charities, including for wounded warriors. After his last court appearance in San Diego, Hunter was swarmed by protesters, including one wearing a bunny suit in reference to claims that he used campaign funds on airfare for a pet rabbit. 'We're still running, and we're going to win,' Hunter told reporters over the chants of 'lock him up!' Polls suggest the race has tightened between the 41-year-old former combat Marine and his opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, a 29-year-old first-time candidate who worked in the Obama administration. Hunter, who is seeking his sixth term, has struck back with a YouTube ad alleging Campa-Najjar, a Latino Arab-American, is working to 'infiltrate Congress.' It falsely asserts he is supported by the Muslim Brotherhood. It also mentions his Palestinian background. His father served in the Palestine Liberation Organization and his grandfather was a leader of the group that orchestrated the terror attack at the 1972 Munich Olympics that killed 11 Israeli athletes. Dozens of national security experts have assailed the attacks as racist. Campa-Najjar, who was raised in San Diego by his Mexican-American mother, had little to do with his Palestinian father and his Palestinian grandfather was killed before he was born. The FBI vetted his family before giving him security clearances to work in the Obama administration. Maria Patton, an independent, said she is still undecided about whom to vote for, but the attacks have turned her off. 'I don't support that kind of mentality,' said the 60-year-old retired educator, who lives in La Mesa, east of San Diego. 'I find it unfair.' Hunter has stepped up the attacks as donations have poured in for his opponent, who raised $1.4 million in the third quarter compared with $132,000 by the incumbent. 'There's a high premium on truth this election year,' Campa-Najjar told The Associated Press. McMurray, town supervisor of Grand Island, also saw donations triple in the third quarter, when he raised $520,000 compared with $33,000 for Collins. 'Both Democrats and Republicans are starting to support me and there's a reason: Because people want something better,' McMurray said. Like Collins and Hunter, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey refused to resign after being indicted in 2015 on corruption charges. The case was dismissed after a hung jury. He is now in a tight race with his Republican opponent. In 2014, Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of New York was re-elected while under indictment, but later resigned after pleading guilty to tax evasion. After serving more than seven months in prison, he ran again in the June primary but lost. _____ Watson reported from San Diego. Thompson reported from Buffalo, New York.
  • The White House says the attorney representing President Donald Trump in the Russia investigation is shifting roles and taking on duties as counsel to the president. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Thursday that Emmet Flood will temporarily serve as White House counsel. That's until another attorney, Pat Cipollone, officially comes on board in that role. At that time, Sanders says Flood will return to his role as special counsel representing Trump in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Sanders says Trump has 'a great deal of respect' for both attorneys and is glad to have them on his team. Cipollone will succeed Don McGahn, whose final day as White House counsel was Wednesday. Cipollone is awaiting completion of his background investigation.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • As a former FBI agent was sentenced to 4 years in prison Thursday in Minnesota for disclosing classified information to the news media, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions hailed the latest court moves against leakers in the federal government, saying the Trump Administration is waging what may be ‘the most aggressive campaign against leaks’ in the history of the Department of Justice. “Today’s sentence should be a warning to every would-be leaker in the federal government that if they disclose classified information, they will pay a high price,” Sessions said in a statement, making clear that government leakers will be ‘prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and punished.’ Terry Albury, the Minneapolis FBI agent arrested for leaking classified information to the Intercept, gets four years in prison. 'We are conducting perhaps the most aggressive campaign against leaks in Department history,' AG Sessions says in statement: https://t.co/QBFKUUiXy8 — Kevin Collier (@kevincollier) October 18, 2018 The Sessions statement came after a busy week on the leak front for the feds: + On Monday, a former employee of the Senate Intelligence Committee plead guilty to lying to the FBI about leaks to a reporter. + Wednesday, a Department of Treasury official was charged with leaking banking activity reports to a reporter which was linked to the Russia investigation. + Today, former FBI agent Terry Albury was sentenced to four years of jail time for leaking national security material to the Intercept. From press reports in recent days, it is obvious that more leak investigations are underway as well. + The Trump Administration has sent a subpoena to an immigration attorney, trying to find out how leaked an internal government memo from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, on how asylum applications would be handled for domestic violence victims. + The charges this week against a Treasury Department employee for leaking “Suspicious Activity Banking” reports shows another official in the same office had contacts with the news media as well. + Earlier this week, Attorney General Sessions told the Washington Times that there were 27 ongoing leak investigations at the Department of Justice. + Back in February, Sessions vowed that the Justice Department was going “aggressively” to find out who leaked information about transcripts of phone conversations involving former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
  • A 63-year-old man was shot and killed by police in Monroe, Georgia, Thursday after pointing what turned out to be a replica Thompson submachine gun, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said. >> Read more trending news  The incident happened about 9 a.m., when police responded to a report of a man with a gun, Monroe Public Safety Director Keith Glass said in a statement. The man was identified as Mahlon Edward Summerour, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said in a statement, adding that Summerour appeared to be wearing a curtain over his clothing. “During the encounter, Summerour pointed the weapon at one of the officers,” Miles said. “One officer fired a shot at Summerour, striking him in the chest. Summerour was transported to a local hospital where he later died.” Officer-involved shootings in Georgia in 2018 are on track to surpass the 97 recorded in 2017, according to the GBI. The Monroe shooting is the 73rd such investigation the agency has opened in 2018.
  • The Georgia State Patrol says a man is dead after he managed to fire a weapon that he had hidden behind his back while he was handcuffed during a traffic stop on Interstate 75 in Georgia. >> Read more trending news The shooting happened at exit 293 in Cartersville, near the exit ramp to Highway 411 in Bartow County. Officials say a trooper pulled a couple over around 5 a.m. Thursday and the trooper found contraband in the car. The female driver was taken into custody. Authorities said the male passenger originally gave a false name and, at some point, the first trooper called for backup. When a second trooper arrived, the officers determined the man was a wanted parole violator who had been on the run for months, officials said. The troopers searched the man’s car for weapons and handcuffed his hands behind his back, according to investigators. >> Man carrying replica machine gun fatally shot by police, cops say The man was able to grab a weapon hidden behind his back in his pants and fired at the troopers. One of the officers was struck in the stomach, but protected by a bullet-proof vest.  The troopers shot back at the suspect, authorities said. The man was taken to the hospital and later died, according to officials.  The trooper was treated at the hospital and released.  Authorities continue to investigate.
  • State authorities are investigating a deadly shooting involving police in Monroe, officials said. >> Read more trending news The incident happened about 9 a.m. Thursday in the 400 block of East Marable Street in Walton County when police responded to a report of a man with a gun, Monroe Public Safety Director Keith Glass said in a statement. >> See the latest on AJC.com A 63-year-old man was shot and killed after police said he was carrying a gun that turned out to be a replica Thompson machine gun, WSBTV reported. The scene is about one block from Athens Technical College’s Walton campus. >> See the latest on WSBTV.com It was one of two officer-involved shootings in Georgia on Thursday. The second was reported in Bartow County. >> Suspect shot dead after pulling gun during traffic stop, injuring officer, Georgia State Patrol says Officer-involved shootings in Georgia this year are on track to pass the 88 recorded in 2017, according to the GBI. The Monroe shooting is the 73rd such investigation the agency has opened in 2018.