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Archive for August, 2017

What FBI Raid of Manafort’s Home Shows about Probe of Russia And Trump’s Campaign

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s raid of the home of Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort shows that the investigation of Russia meddling in the presidential election is ramping up.

The longtime Republican operative and lobbyist is under investigation by both special counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate Judiciary Committee for his alleged role in colluding with Russia to help get Trump elected.

“It is a big deal,” former Justice Department prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg told Politico. “Prosecutors do not take aggressive steps like this with subjects who the government feels are being open and cooperative. And they also do not do this to ‘send a message.’ They do it because they think there is evidence to be found and that if they do not act aggressively, it could be destroyed.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said the raid is “clear evidence” connecting him to “some criminal wrongdoing.”

“This highly significant step reaffirms the reasons that I first urged the appointment of a Special Counsel with the power to execute such investigative measures and bring criminal charges and redoubles my determination to protect this investigation from political interference,” Blumenthal said in a statement.

Duke Law School professor and former federal prosecutor Samuel Buell said the search warrant “confirms, beyond doubt, serious, criminal investigative focus on Manafort.”

Ex-FBI Agent, Daughter Convicted of Killing Daughter’s Husband

Thomas Martens and his daughter Jason Corbett.

Thomas Martens and his daughter Jason Corbett.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former FBI agent and his daughter were found guilty by a jury Wednesday of murdering the daughter’s husband by crushing his skull with a baseball bat and brick at his house in Lexington, N.C.

Thomas Martens, who spent 31 years as an FBI agent, and his 33-year-old daughter, Molly Corbett, were sentenced to 20-25 years in prison on charges of second-degree murder in the death of Jason Corbett, the Washington Post reports

Martens admitted he attacked Corbett in August 2015, but he maintained he did so to save his daughter’s life after walking into the home to find the husband choking Molly Corbett.

But that story unraveled, and the jury didn’t buy it.

AG Sessions’ Extreme Position on Marijuana Worries States That Legalized It

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said earlier this year that marijuana “is only slightly less awful” than heroin, has prompted concerns among states that have legalized marijuana use.

Despite a federal law banning marijuana use, eight states have approved marijuana for recreational use. Nearly 30 states have legalized medical marijuana.

In letters released last week, Sessions warned four governors that he had “serious concerns” about legalizing marijuana, the Los Angeles Times reports

The letters were vague enough that states aren’t sure whether Sessions plans to crack down on legalization. Sessions said he wanted to talk with governors about his concerns.

“The letters did appear to be a bit off base, and in several instances referred to the way things were but are no longer. But more importantly, the letters did not tell the states they lack the authority to sell marijuana,” Mason Tvert, a co-director of Colorado’s 2012 legal marijuana initiative, said.

Watch John Oliver Criticize Trump’s Plan to Hire 5,000 More Border Patrol Agents

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Comedian John Oliver slammed President Trump’s plans to add more protection at the border, saying corruption and misconduct could easily follow.

The host of “Last Week Tonight” questioned the decision to hire an additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents.

Watch the full clip above. 

Israeli Teen Accused of Running U.S. Bomb Threat Service on Dark Web

israeli flagBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An Israeli teen arrested on allegations of phoning in bomb threats to at least 245 American schools and Jewish community centers made some of the threats for money on the dark web.

Michael Kadar, 19, who was arrested in Israel in March, is accused of running a bomb threat business using the dark web marketplace AlphaBay, which was shut down in July, Vice reports

According to the FBI, Kadar charged $30 for each bomb threat and $45 if one of his customers wanted to frame someone for the message. He received $240,000 for his services.

The scheme began in July, stoking fears of rising anti-Semitism and prompting scores of evacuations, the FBI alleges.

Kadar was arrested after he gave away his IP address by failing to use a proxy server.

Kadar has been charged in the U.S. and Israel, but so far he’s not expected to be extradited to America. But he faces up to 10 years in prison on the charges in Israel.

Trump Publicly Slams Special Counsel Mueller, Privately Expresses ‘Appreciation’

President Trump

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

While President Trump slams the federal investigation into alleged collusion between his campaign and Russia, his lawyer is sending entirely different messages to special counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump’s chief counsel John Dowd sent a message of appreciation to the special counsel, suggesting the president was happy about the investigation.

“He appreciates what Bob Mueller is doing,” Dowd told USA TODAY in an interview Tuesday. “He asked me to share that with him and that’s what I’ve done.” 

Down said Trump’s legal team has been in touch with Mueller’s office, and he admits he sent a message expressing “appreciation and greetings” to Mueller, who Trump has criticized numerous times publicly.

“The president has sent messages back and forth,’’ Dowd said, declining to elaborate further.

Special Counsel Mueller Gave Up Lucrative Job to Investigate Trump, Russia

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is now special counsel for the Russia investigation.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is now special counsel for the Russia investigation.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller gave up millions of dollars to investigate allegations that Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the presidential election.

That’s according to a financial disclosure released Tuesday by the Justice Department, which appointed Mueller.

Mueller made nearly $3.5 million since the beginning of 2016 as a partner of WilmerHale, a Washington D.C.-based law firm. Mueller represented some of the nation’s most prominent businesses, including Apple, Facebook, Sony Pictures and the NFL, Politico reports. 

Mueller, a former FBI director, also made about $241,000 on speaking engagements since the beginning of 2016.

He was appointed in May to investigate Russia’s meddling in the presidential election.

FBI Raids Home of Trump’s Ex-Campaign Manager Paul Manafort

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In a predawn raid, FBI agents searched the home of President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and seized documents and other materials late last month.

The July 26 raid came one day after Manafort met with staff for the Senate Intelligence Committee over the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, the Washington Post reports

FBI agents seized various records in what is turning out to be a widening probe into alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

The raid suggests the FBI doesn’t trust Manafort to disclose all records as part of a grand jury subpoena.

A spokesman for special counsel Robert Mueller declined to comment on the raid.