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Archive for July, 2017

Homeland Security: Program Protecting Young Immigrants May Be Illegal

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal program that protects young immigrants from deportation is likely illegal, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Hispanic lawmakers on Wednesday.

Kelly met behind closed doors with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to address former President Obama’s Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrival Program, or DACA, which protected hundreds of thousands of young people who entered the U.S. as children, the Associated Press reports. 

A group of attorneys is urging the president to phase out the program.

When Trump was running for president, he pledged to “immediately end” the DACA program. But his position has softened since he became president, saying his administration won’t target people protected by DACA.

Other Stories of Interest

Trump’s FBI pick: Russia Probe Is No Witch Hunt, And Comey Is No ‘Nut Job’

Christopher Wray testifies during his confirmation hearing to become the next FBI director.

Christopher Wray testifies during his confirmation hearing to become the next FBI director.

If Donald Trump was hoping to find a loyalist or political puppet to replace fired FBI Director James Comey, the president nominated the wrong person.

Pledging he would resign before caving to political pressure, Christopher A. Wray was candid, direct and unafraid to challenge the president’s unsubstantiated attacks on the intelligence community during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I will never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law and the impartial pursuit of justice,” Wray testified. “Period. Full stop.”

Wray, a former senior Justice Department official also defended Comey and Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to investigate allegations that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

To discredit the growing and evolving investigations, Trump routinely depicts intelligence officials as politically driven scrooges bent on driving him out of the White House. He’s called Comey a “nut job” and painted Mueller as an unscrupulous opportunist.

Wray defended them both.

“I have worked closely with Director Mueller in many past government services,” Wray testified. “I view him as a consummate straight-shooter and somebody I have enormous respect for.”

Wray’s firm insistence that he run the FBI without political influence appeared to convince many Democrats to support his nomination.

Read the Damning Emails Between Trump Jr. And Rob Goldstone

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Following the explosive report that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-backed attorney for compromising information on Hillary Clinton, the president’s eldest son released damning emails that show he was tickled to get information that could harm the Democratic presidential candidate.

Here are the full emails:

June 3, 2016:

Emin (Agalarov, a real estate tycoon and Russian pop star represented by Goldstone) just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting.

The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras (a Moscow-based developer with close ties to Putin) this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.

What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?

I can also send this info to your father via Rhona [presumably Rhona Graff, Trump’s longtime executive assistant], but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.

Trump Jr’s response to Goldstone:

Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?

June 6, 2016, Goldstone to Trump:

Let me know when you are free to talk with Emin by phone about this Hillary info – you had mentioned early this week so wanted to try to schedule a time and day. Best to you and your family.

Trump Jr. to Goldstone:

Rob could we speak now?

Goldstone to Trump Jr.:

Let me track him down in Moscow. What number he could call?

Goldstone to Trump Jr.:

He’s on stage in Moscow but should be off within 20 minutes so I am sure can call.

Trump Jr. to Goldstone:

Rob thanks for the help.

June 6, 2016, Goldstone to Trump Jr.:

Hope all is well. Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and the Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow for this Thursday. I believe you are aware of the meeting – and so wondered if 3pm or later on Thursday works for you? I assume it would be at your office.

Trump Jr. to Goldstone:

How about 3 at our offices? Thanks Rob appreciate you helping set it up.

Goldstone to Trump Jr.:

Perfect … I won’t sit in on the meeting, but will bring them at 3pm and introduce you etc. I will send the names of the two people meeting with you for security when I have them later today.

Trump Jr. to Goldstone

Great. It will likely be Paul Manafort (campaign boss) my brother in law [Jared Kushner] and me. 725 Fifth Ave 25th floor.

June 8, 2016, Goldstone to Trump Jr.:

Good morning. Would it be possible to move tomorrow meeting to 4pm as the Russian attorney is in court until 3 I was just informed.

Trump Jr. to Goldstone:

Yes Rob I could do that unless they wanted to do 3 today instead … just let me know and I’ll lock it in either way.

Goldstone to Trump Jr.:

They can’t do today as she hasn’t landed from Moscow. 4pm is great tomorrow.

Meet Rob Goldstone, the Putin Ally Who Set Up Secret Trump-Russia Meeting

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Rob Goldstone, a music publicist with ties to Russia, has been thrust into the spotlight over the recent discovery that he arranged a previously undisclosed meeting between Donald Trump’s campaign and a lawyer with Kremlin ties.

The June 2016 meeting, first publicized several days ago, is considered a potential smoking gun that may threaten Trump’s presidency.

So who is Goldstone?

It appears Donald Trump first met Goldstone, a British-born former tabloid reporter and president of Oui 2 Entertainment, during the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, an event that had been co-owned by the now-president. At the time, Goldstone was representing one of the pageant’s performers, Emin Agalarov.

Following the pageant, Agalarov and her family began negotiating a deal with Trump to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, a project that never happened because Trump was launching his 2016 presidential election.

Goldstone acknowledged on Monday that he had helped facilitate the now-notorious June meeting between Trump’s inner circle and his “client in Moscow,” Agalarov, one of Russia’s most popular stars and a real estate tycoon who has been compared to Trump. The elder Goldstone has close personal ties to Putin, who awarded the real estate tycoon numerous lucrative state building contracts.

For its part, the Trump campaign denied colluding with Russia, but email records and interviews indicate Trump Jr. believed the meeting was about obtaining compromising information on Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s Pick for FBI Director to Face Tough Questions During Confirmation Hearing Today

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee for FBI director, Christopher A. Wray, will face a host of challenging questions Wednesday morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing.

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

And the timing couldn’t be worst.

Wray’s testimony comes in the thick of an increasingly evolving investigation by the Justice Department and congressional members into whether Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia in an attempt to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning.

Adding pressure to that investigation is the recent revelation that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer who the president’s son was told wanted to hurt Clinton’s chances of winning.

Senators are expected to grill Wray, a former federal prosecutor in President George Bush’s administration, about his opinions of the investigation.

Since Trump admitted in a TV interview that he fired then-FBI Director James Comey over what the president called a “witch hunt” to destroy his political career, senators also are expected to question how Wray plans to deal with Trump’s interference in federal investigations.

The 50-year-old nominee, who spent years as a high-powered defense lawyer who represented Trump loyalist and New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie.

Veterans law enforcement officials who have worked with Wray described him as an objective, fair legal mind who isn’t easily influenced by political pressure.

Decade-Plus Search for New FBI Headquarters Is Canceled

The FBI's current headquarters in Washington D.C.

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A new FBI headquarters that has been in the works for more than 10 years has been scrapped, leaving agents and employees with no immediate solution to abandoning the crumbling, antiquated J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Among the stubborn snags has been Congress’ failure to provide enough money for a new building in the Washington suburbs. Under the plan, the FBI would trade the J. Edgar Hoover Building for space to build a new headquarters in the suburbs. The total cost to taxpayers was $2 billion.

Another roadblock was the lack of consistent leadership at the FBI and General Services Administration, which plans to announce the cancelation to bidders and in meetings on Capitol Hill this morning, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The 2.8-million-square-foot Hoover Building, which was dedicated in 1975, has been a constant source of frustration for agents and employees who also worry whether the deplorable conditions could cause security issues.

FBI: U.S. Soldier Who Pledged Allegiance to ISIS Planned to Kill ‘a Bunch of People’

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Hawaii-based active duty soldier told undercover FBI agents that he wanted to “kill a bunch of people” after he had pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

Ikaika Kang, a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army, was arrested Saturday and appeared in court Monday on terrorism charges, the Associated Press reports. 

Kang allegedly helped buy a drone with the intent of using it against American forces. He also is accused of saying he would to shoot “a bunch of people” with a rifle.

Kang thought he was meeting with Islamic State loyalists, but he was actually communicating with undercover agents.

Paul Delacourt, the FBI special agent in charge of the Hawaii bureau, said Kang was a lone wolf.

Smoking Gun Email Shows Trump Jr. Knew Russia Was Helping Get Dad Elected

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A damning email obtained by federal investigators revealed that Donald Trump Jr. was informed that the Russian government had compromising information about Hillary Clinton that was intended sabotage her election chances.

The email, reviewed by the New York Times, contradicts Trump Jr.’s original assertions that he was meeting with a Russian lawyer to talk about adoptions. 

This paragraph is particularly damaging to the president’s son.:

“Before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email.”

The e-mail could play a key role in the ongoing probe by the Justice Department and congressional investigators, who are trying to determine whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the presidential election.

Trump Jr.’s lawyer insisted his client did nothing wrong and will cooperate with investigators.

“In my view, this is much ado about nothing. During this busy period, Robert Goldstone contacted Don Jr. in an email and suggested that people had information concerning alleged wrongdoing by Democratic Party front-runner, Hillary Clinton, in her dealings with Russia,” he told The Times in an email on Monday. “Don Jr.’s takeaway from this communication was that someone had information potentially helpful to the campaign and it was coming from someone he knew. Don Jr. had no knowledge as to what specific information, if any, would be discussed.”