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Archive for May, 2017

Schumer: Appoint Special Counsel Or No New FBI Director

Sen. Charles Schumer

Sen. Charles Schumer

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is threatening to prevent the appointment of a new FBI director until the Justice Department appoints a special counsel to investigate whether President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the presidential election.

“I think there are a lot of Democrats who feel that way,” Schumer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We’ll have to discuss it as a caucus, but I would support that move.”

So far the Justice Department declined to appoint a special counsel, and Republicans in the Congressional have rejected the idea.

Trump interviewed candidates for the top FBI job over the weekend but has yet to confirm the nominees.

“The key here, of course, is getting some of our Republican colleagues to join us.”

Lawmakers to Trump: Don’t Appoint Politicians to Replace FBI Director

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Lawmakers are pleading with President Trump to avoid appointing any politicians to replace FBI Director James Comey.

Trump has come under heavy criticism from Democrats, Republicans and intelligence community for firing Comey while he was investigating any connections between and Trump.

James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, said Trump is “eroding” the three checks and balances created by the Founding Fathers.

“I think, in many ways, our institutions are under assault, both externally — and that’s the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system,” Clapper said “I think as well our institutions are under assault internally.”

Graham is in favor of recruiting from within the FBI.

“It’s now time to pick somebody who comes from within the ranks, or has such a reputation that has no political background at all that can go into the job on Day 1,” said Graham, R-S.C.

“The president has a chance to clean up the mess he mostly created,” Graham said, adding: “I have no evidence that the president colluded with the Russians at all … but we don’t know all the evidence yet.”

As Expected, The FBI Agents Association Endorses Mike Rogers For Director

220px-Mike_Rogers_109th_Congress_photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As expected the FBI Agents Association on Saturday endorsed former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers to replace fired FBI Director James Comey. Rogers is also a former FBI agent.

“Chairman Rogers exemplifies the principles that should be possessed by the next FBI Director,” said FBIAA President Thomas F. O’Connor in a statement.  “It is essential that the next FBI Director understand the details of how Agents do their important work.  Mike Rogers’ background as a Special Agent, veteran of the armed forces and former member of Congress sets him apart as someone capable of confronting the wide array of challenges facing our help ensure that the Bureau remains the world’s premiere law enforcement agency.

“Rogers’ unique and diverse experience will allow him to effectively lead the men and women of the Bureau as we work to protect our country from criminal and terrorist threats,” said O’Connor. “During his time in Congress he showed a commitment to confronting threats to our country in a nonpartisan and collaborative manner.”

Rogers, 53, who was in Congress from 2001-15, led the U.S. House Intelligence Committee. He is currently a CNN national security commentator.

Former FBI Official Michael Mason: Comey Firing Should Concern All Americans

Michael Mason is a retired Executive Assistant Director of the FBI. 

By Michael Mason

Michael Mason/fbi photo

Michael Mason/fbi photo

I believe the firing of James Comey is something that should concern all Americans.

The justifications for the firing of the Director that have been put forth by the White House lack credibility. Can anyone legitimately claim that the timing of this act is not, at the very least, suspicious?

The comment intended to quiet this storm that “…only the Director was fired, not the whole FBI…” might be true, but relative to its impact, it is a patently absurd statement.

Relative to the release of the information contained in the now infamous Comey letter, the American public seems to believe that Director Comey released that letter to the media. He provided the letter to the Congressional Committee to which he was obligated to report investigative progress.

That letter was obviously leaked to the press by one or more members of that committee immediately thereafter. Like it or not,  Comey was in a very difficult position immediately prior to the presidential election. If he had said nothing and the FBI found nothing…the matter passes unnoticed.

However, if he says nothing and an internal sympathizer calls a member of the press, then it looks like an attempted cover-up. If he says nothing and there’s no leak, but the FBI finds something and reports it after the election, all hell would have broken loose. So Comey was in a situation akin to seeing two small children fall into a lake and you can only save one. No matter what you do, that story will not end well.

The independence of the FBI is critical and that independence has been soiled by this situation. Comey was previously commended by the President, even called “courageous” for acts now used as justification for his removal. It would be laughable if it were not so serious.

Now the President is tweeting that there better not be a recording of any conversation he had with Comey. Far beyond the utter absurdity of the President “tweeting” such a threat and/or allegation, it would appear to me such a recording would make it completely clear what was said between these two men.

However, let’s not remove the dense fog that accompanies everything coming out of the White House relative to this situation. Just to be clear, I am not suggesting for a second that such recordings are appropriate but rather how odd it is the President felt he needed to issue a tough guy statement relative to the utterly improbable likelihood any such tape(s) exist. Just more dense fog, intended to distract our attention from the matter at hand once again.

The American public really needs to wake up and demand more from the President of the United States and his administration. Waking up each day and turning on the news for five minutes to see the latest absurdity coming out of the White House is already getting tiresome.

Weekend Series on Crime History: Nixon vs. Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox

How Trump’s Boorish Temperament Is Exposing Him to More Scrutiny

donald trump rallyBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If President Trump thought firing FBI Director James Comey would rein in the bureau’s robust federal investigation of ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign, the billionaire-turned-political newcomer made a terrible, potentially fateful miscalculation.

Trump’s brazen decision Tuesday to terminate the man who was leading the growing investigation prompted a far-reaching call for an independent special counsel to examine whether the president’s campaign conspired with Russia to interfere with the 2016 election. Some also are questioning whether Comey’s firing constitutes obstruction of justice since he was looking into potential crimes committed by the president and some of his inner circle.

Former FBI Director James Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey

After drawing fierce criticism from both sides of the aisle, Democrats on Wednesday called for an independent special counsel to investigate the allegations. Then on Thursday, 20 attorneys general from across the country urged the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel.

Despite the reaction, Trump continues to take to Twitter and TV to blame the investigation on “fake news” and Democrats who “fabricated” the allegations “as an excuse for losing the election.”

Acting FBI Director Pledges to Blow the Whistle if White House Interferes

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe pledged Thursday to alert congressional members of any attempts by the White House to interfere with the “highly significant investigation” into ties between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Speaking at a public hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, McCabe also vowed not to share information about the investigation with the White House.

Acting FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

Acting FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

A day earlier, Trump claimed Comey had been doing a poor job and suggested in a tweet that the 3-year FBI director “lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrats alike,” despite an outpouring of support within the ranks of the FBI. 

At the hearing, McCabe challenged Trump’s portrayal of Comey, saying working with the director was “the greatest privilege and honor of my professional life.

McCabe added, “The vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey.”

McCabe assured the committee that the White House would not deter the FBI.

“Simply put, sir, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution,” McCabe said.

Trump Repeatedly Asked FBI Director Comey for His Loyalty at Private Dinner

Former FBI Director James Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just a month before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, the billionaire who pledged to “drain the swamp of corruption in Washington D.C.” invited FBI Director James Comey to the White House for a one-on-one dinner.

After some small talk, Trump got down to business. He wanted to know whether Comey would pledge his loyalty to the president, two Comey associates who are familiar with the dinner told the New York Times. 

It was an unusual request, not only because the FBI director is supposed to be free of political loyalty, but because Comey and the bureau were investigating whether Trump’s campaign team conspired with Russian operatives to interfere in the presidential election.

Comey explained that he could only pledge loyalty to his job and the country, but he promised to always be honest with the president. 

Unsatisfied, Trump repeated that he needed Comey’s loyalty. Again, Comey declined.

Nearly five months later, Trump fired Comey, who had maintained his independence.