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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Critical Materials from Russia Investigation Vanish During Trump’s Departure from Office

In the waning days of Donald J. Trump’s presidency, a binder containing highly classified information related to the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election mysteriously disappeared. This raised concerns among national security officials about the potential compromise of sensitive information. The binder, a compilation of materials linked to the origins of the Russia investigation, had been prepared by Trump administration officials, including copies of flawed FBI applications for national security surveillance warrants and text messages between FBI officials expressing bias against Trump.

Despite a redacted version of the material being publicly available through the Freedom of Information Act, the original binder held details that intelligence agencies feared could expose secret sources and methods. The disappearance prompted the Senate Intelligence Committee to be briefed on the matter in 2021. The uncertainty surrounding the missing material includes questions about the number of copies made, who possessed them, and whether the entire original binder is lost. Notably, Trump’s interest in declassifying and publicly releasing the information heightened the binder’s significance.

The binder had been a focal point since January 2021 when Trump aides prepared redactions as part of Trump’s plan to declassify and make it public. However, concerns from the Justice Department regarding potential breaches of the Privacy Act led to the retrieval of the copies intended for release. Even after leaving office, Trump remained fixated on the binder, suggesting in an April 2021 interview that his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, still had the material. The incident reflects the ongoing tensions around the Russia investigation and its aftermath.

In a separate development, the California Civil Rights Department has withdrawn its sexual harassment lawsuit against video game maker Activision Blizzard in a $54 million settlement. The original accusations of fostering a work culture of sexual harassment and discrimination against female employees had been a significant factor affecting Activision Blizzard. The settlement requires Activision to allocate up to $47 million to address pay disparity and discrimination for female employees. Notably, the agreement stated that no court or independent investigation had substantiated allegations of systemic sexual harassment at the company.

The completion of this settlement marks the end of a prolonged dispute between the State of California and Activision Blizzard. The case, filed in 2021, had a substantial impact on the company, leading to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision for $69 billion in 2023. While Activision repeatedly denied the accusations about its workplace culture, the settlement acknowledges the need for addressing specific issues related to pay and discrimination. The agreement is contingent on court approval and is expected to be filed in court in the coming weeks.

Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews
I am a Political News Journalist of The National Era
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