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Archive for June, 2017

Secret Service Will Now Hire Agents with a History of Smoking Pot

marijuana-istockBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service is having trouble hiring agents, but it’s not because there aren’t enough applicants.

Turns out, the agency is forced to turn down a lot of applicants because of a policy that disqualified people who smoked marijuana in their past, the New York Daily News reports. 

Under the agency’s new policy, job candidates who smoked marijuana in the past aren’t automatically disqualified. The agency will now consider the length of time a person hasn’t smoked pot.

Applicants younger than 24, for example, are still eligible for a job if they had not smoked marijuana for a period of 12 months Candidates who are 28 or older must have refrained from smoking pot for at least five years.

Without the revamped policy, the Secret Service projects it wouldn’t be able to fill thousands of employees.

“We need more people. The mission has changed,” Secret Service Director Randolph Alles said, according to CNN. “It’s more dynamic and way more dangerous than it has been in years past.”

Suspected NSA Leaker Accused of Writing, ‘I Want to Burn the White House Down’

Suspected NSA leaker Reality Winner.

Suspected NSA leaker Reality Winner.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Suspected NSA leader Reality Leigh Winner is accused of writing in a journal, “I want to burn the White House down.”

Investigators found the journal insider her home in Georgia, the USA Today reports. 

A federal judge on Thursday ordered Winner held without bail after she was charged with leaking classified U.S. intelligence documents to the website Intercept.

Winner is accused of writing, “I want to burn the White House Down … find somewhere in Kurdistan to live. Ha-ha!” assistant U.S. attorney Jennifer Solari told a federal judge.

Winner, 25, is a former Air Force linguist.

Trump’s Legal Team Threatens to Sue James Comey for Leaking Memos

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Add James Comey to the lengthy list of people Trump has threatened to sue.

The president’s legal team plans to file a complaint against the fired FBI director for leaking memos about his conversations with Trump, two sources familiar with the situation told CNN. The complaints will be filed with the Justice Department’s Inspector General and the Senate Judiciary Committee early next week.

Comey revealed to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday that he gave his friend a copy of the memos to leak t0 the media in an attempt to inspire the appointment of a special counsel.

The memos detail serious accusations that Trump pressured Comey to end the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

As a presidential candidate, Trump often made threats to sue, but never followed through. The list includes Sen. Ted Cruz, the Republican Party of Louisiana, the Washington Post, the New York Times and women who accused him of sexual assault.

Trump Claims ‘Total And Complete Vindication’ in wake of Comey Testimony

President Trump

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A predictably defiant President Trump on Friday claimed “total and complete vindication” in the wake of former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, despite damning revelations that shocked both of Republicans and Democrats.

The president, whom Comey repeatedly called a liar during the blockbuster hearing, borrowed the rhetoric he uses to discredit the media.

“Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!” Trump tweeted Friday morning.

While it’s impossible to know whether Trump really believes the hearing went in his favor, many legal and intelligence experts said Comey built a strong case that the president was trying to stop the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, which could be considered obstruction of justice.

Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, was quick to appoint out that Comey confirmed Trump was not under investigation for possibly colliding with Russia.

But Comey was more nuanced on this issue, saying the FBI was scrutinizing Trump’s actions, which were within “the scope” of the bureau’s investigation.

Comey also raised the explosive allegation that Trump urged him to drop the investigation of Flynn.

Whatever the case, Comey leveled serious allegations against the president, which most likely will be investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, also a former FBI director.

NYT: Comey’s Integrity in Stark Contrast to Trump’s brashness

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

By Editorial Board
New York Times

Weeks after being described by Donald Trump as a “nut job,” James Comey on Thursday deftly recast his confrontation with the president as a clash between the legal principles at the foundation of American democracy, and a venal, self-interested politician who does not recognize, let alone uphold, them.

In sworn testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, made clear that he had no confidence in the president’s integrity. Why? “The nature of the person,” he said. Confronted with low presidential character for the first time in his career, Mr. Comey began writing meticulous notes of every conversation with Mr. Trump. “I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting,” he said.

Mr. Comey said he was stunned during one Oval Office meeting by Mr. Trump’s request — which he very reasonably understood as an order — to drop the F.B.I. investigation into Michael Flynn. Mr. Flynn had been forced to resign as national security adviser the day before, after lying about his contacts with Russia. And Russia, Mr. Comey usefully reminded the senators, had gone to unprecedented lengths to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, using “overwhelming” technological firepower.

“This is about America,” Mr. Comey kept saying. Russia “tried to shape the way we think, we vote, we act — that is a big deal,” he added. “They’re coming after America. … They want to undermine our credibility in the face of the world.”

With restrained fury, Mr. Comey described President Trump’s remarks last month that the bureau was a mess and that the director had lost the trust of his agents as “lies, plain and simple.”

Confronted later with the sworn testimony of a dignified and affronted lawman, the White House press office, its own credibility in tatters, was left to feebly insist, “The president is not a liar.”

Mr. Comey is a wily bureaucratic infighter, a sometimes self-righteous official who wrote his notes with care so they would remain unclassified, and therefore eligible to be released to the public. He acknowledged that he engineered some of the notes’ release, which The Times reported last month, to spur the appointment of a special counsel in the Russia investigation. After firing Mr. Comey, Mr. Trump thought he’d cow him by tweeting about the possibility that their private conversations were taped. Mr. Comey bested him with a single sentence on Thursday, telling the panel he hoped there were tapes, as “corroboration” of the abuse of power he’d witnessed.

To read more click here. 

Comey: President Trump Directed Me to Stop Investigating Flynn

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Direct0r James Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee today that he believed Donald Trump was giving him a “direction” when the president told him that he “hoped you can let” the Flynn investigation go.

Comey was referring to a Feb. 14 meeting in which the president spoke privately and one-on-one with the FBI director in the Oval Office.

The meeting came one day before Flynn, who had lied to lawmakers and the vice president about contacts with a Russian ambassador, resigned under pressure.

According to Comey, who was fired by Trump last month, the president told him that he hoped he could “see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Comey interpreted Trump’s statements “as a direction,” which is important for investigators who are trying to determine whether Trump obstructed justice.

Comey declined to say whether he believed the conversation amounted to obstruction of justice and wouldn’t disclose if he feels Trump colluded with Russia. 

Calm and confident, Comey revealed for the first time that the FBI was scrutinizing Trump’s actions, which were within “the scope” of the bureau’s investigation. But the fired FBI director emphasized that Trump was not specifically under investigation.

Comey also said he was certain that Russia meddled in the presidential election.

“They did it with purpose and sophistication,” Comey said, adding that the interference came “from the top of the government.”

Russia’s meddling, he said, continues to be a clear threat to American democracy.

“Nobody tells us what to think, what to fight, what to vote for, but other Americans,” Comey said. Russia “tried to shape the way6 we think, we vote and we act. This is a big deal. They are coming after America. They want to undermine our credibility.”

 

Top Intelligence Officials Refuse to Say Whether Trump Pressured Them on Russia Probe

US CapitolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two top U.S. intelligence officials raised eyebrows during a Senate hearing when they refused to say whether Trump ever asked them to interfere with the Russia investigation.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers both declined to answer the questions, saying it shouldn’t be discussed during a public session. They also said they’d have to consult with White House attorneys to determine whether executive privilege should be invoked, Bloomberg reports.

“To the best of my recollection, I have never been directed to do anything I believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate,” Rogers said, without answering whether he was asked.

Democrats were irate.

“I come out of this hearing with more questions than when I went in,” Mark Warner said.

10 Likely Questions James Comey Will Be Asked During Trump Senate Hearing

FBI Director James Comey appears Wednesday before the Senate.

FBI Director James Comey appears Wednesday before the Senate.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When fired FBI director James Comey sits down in front of the microphone today, he will be bombarded by questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee as the nation watches.

Here are some of likely questions:

1. Do you believe President Trump obstructed justice when he asked you to “let go” of the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn?

2. Do you believe your termination hampered any ongoing investigations into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign team and Russia?

3. Did you feel threatened when Trump appeared to suggest he would release recordings of you if you talked about your meeting with him?

4. Do you believe the Russian investigation played a role in Trump firing you?

5. Has anyone else in the Trump administration suggested you should end any Russia investigation?

6. Did Trump ever pressure you to drop investigations that were not involving Russia?

7. Did any other members of Trump’s administration try to influence your Russia investigation.

8. You had an awkward handshake with Trump in January. Do you believe he was sincerely trying to compromise?

9. Since Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel, have you met with him or discussed this hearing?

10. Would you support Christopher Wray, Trump’s nominee for the top FBI spot?