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Archive for September, 2017

Rep. Nunes Threatens to Hold FBI Director, AG in Contempt over Trump Dossier

Rep. Devin Nunes

Rep. Devin Nunes

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray of stonewalling him and threatened to hold both in contempt if they don’t produce a subpoena for documents related to a salacious dossier involving President Trump.

The California Republican also threatened in a Sept. 1 letter to publicly grill the Trump appointees before the committee if they don’t turn over the documents, CNN reports

In the letter, Nunes criticized the pair’s “insufficient responsiveness to the committee’s numerous Russia-investigation related requests over the past several months.”

Tunes subpoenaed “any and all documents relating to the agencies’ relationship with former British Secret Intelligence Service officer Christopher Steele and/or the so-called ‘Trump dossier'” on August 24.

It’s unclear whether he’s acting on behalf of committee Republicans or himself.

FBI Makes Gruesome Discovery at Alleged Dogfighting Ring in D.C. Area

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI seized more than a dozen dogs during a raid in the Washington D.C. area over an alleged dogfighting ring.

Authorities are asking the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District in Virginia to allow feds to keep the dogs. Found during the raid at homes in Temple Hills, Md., and Washington D.C. were items related to dog breeding, fighting and training, WTOP reports

The FBI arrested 12 people on Aug. 24, charging them with identity theft and credit card and bank fraud.

Agents found a dog treadmill, a blood-splattered fighting ring and vests weighted with sand bags.

Facebook Provides Robert Mueller with Facebook Ad Data Involving Russia

Data securityBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Information about Facebook’s discovery that an operation likely based in Russia spent $100,000 on ads on the social media site was turned over to Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in charge of investigating alleged Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election.

Facebook said the operation promoted thousands of ads in the U.S. on divisive social and political messages, Reuters reports.

The postings ranged from polarizing positions on immigration, gay rights and race.

Reuters wrote:

U.S. election law bars foreign nationals and foreign entities from spending money to expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate. Non-U.S. citizens may generally advertise on issues. Other ads, such as those that mention a candidate but do not call for the candidate’s election or defeat, fall into what lawyers have called a legal gray area.

Facebook announced the findings in a blog post by its chief security officer, Alex Stamos, and said that it was cooperating with federal inquiries into influence operations during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Facebook briefed members of both the Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees on Wednesday about the suspected Russia advertising, according to a congressional source familiar with the matter. Both committees are conducting probes into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, including potential collusion between the campaign of President Donald Trump and Moscow.

ATF Investigates Theft of 100+ Guns in Houston During Hurricane Harvey

gunsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF is investigating the theft of dozens of guns as Hurricane Harvey swept across Houston.

Authorities told Click 2 Houston that six gun stores were burglarized. 

“It’s just unacceptable for people to take advantage of a natural disaster like this,” said Fred Milanowski, special agent-in-charge of the ATF‘s Houston division.

In less than 48 hours, Milanowski said 109 guns were stolen.

“We will do everything we can to have these individuals prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Milanowski.

Other Stories of Interest

House Intelligence Committee Subpoenas FBI, DOJ for Dossier Documents

Donald TrumpBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed the Justice Department and FBI for records related to the salacious, unverified dossier on President Trump.

Neither agency turned over the records by the Sept. 1 deadline, prompting the committee to issue two more subpoenas to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to explain why the records weren’t disclosed, the Washington Examiner reports

“We got nothing,” said committee member Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who is taking a leading role in the Russia investigation. “The witnesses have not been produced and the documents have not been produced.”

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., said during an appearance on MSNBC that Republicans are trying to “discredit” the author of the dossier “rather than looking into how many of the allegations he wrote were true.”

“What we should be most concerned about is whether those sources of the information in the report are true, not in discrediting the author of that report,” Schiff said.

The FBI said it needs more time to determine whether disclosing the documents will interfere with the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump Lawyer Asks Reporter If She’s on Drugs for Asking about Trump’s Termination Letter to Comey

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

White House special counsel Ty Cobb questioned whether a reporter was on drugs for asking why the president didn’t send his letter notifying James Comey that he was being fired as FBI director.

The unprofessional question came in an email exchange between Cobb and Business Insider’s Natasha Bertrand, who wrote a story about how the letter may be used as evidence in the obstruction of justice case against President Trump. 

Cobb declined to say why the letter was never sent to Comey and asked Bertrand, “Are you on drugs?”

Bertrand shared the exchange on Twitter.

“Cobb supposedly has a great reputation and is a very respected lawyer,” Bertrand told HuffPost. “He was brought in to bring some discipline to the whole operation. So I wasn’t expecting that response to what I thought was a pretty basic question.” 

Homeland Security to Phase Out Parts of DACA

homeland2department-of-homeland-security-logo-300x300By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security has rolled out a plan to deal with the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The agency won’t accept new DACA applications for deferments or two-year work permits unless they are already in the pipeline, the New York Post reports. For those that have been submitted already, Homeland Security will consider them on a case-by-case basis.

DACA recipients may apply for renewal if they submit the application by Oct. 5.

By March 6, 2020, the federal government will phase out the program.

The Post wrote:

Once a permit expires, a person will not be “considered lawfully present in the US” and will be subject to deportation, the DHS said.

Their “removal will no longer be deferred and they will no longer be eligible for lawful employment,” the agency said.

The law as it stands now does not grant DACA recipients, also known as “Dreamers,” any legal status — unless Congress amends the existing immigration laws.

But the DHS said persons whose permits have expired will not be targeted, and federal immigration enforcement agencies will continue to focus on people who are known criminals or national security threats.

“Our enforcement posture has not changed. We still are prioritizing criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants — in other words persons who have been previously removed — and those persons with standing orders for removal,” a senior DHS official told reporters. “There is no plan at this time to target persons outside those parameters. Persons who are currently in (DACA), their DACA remains in effect if encountered during law enforcement operations.”

Manafort Blocks FBI from Obtaining Transcript of Interview with Senate Committee

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

    Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorneys for Paul Manafort, who served as President Trump’s campaign chairman, is trying to prevent special counsel Robert Mueller from acquiring a transcript of his interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee in July.

CNN reports that the FBI said it obtained permission from Manafort’s attorney to view the transcript, but the committee says it was instructed to not disclose the document. 

Although Mueller’s team apparently received permission to view documents that Manafort submitted to the committee, those records have not yet been turned over.

The documents are related to a meeting that Manafort attended with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and two Russian lobbyists at Trump Tower last July.

CNN reports:

The previously undisclosed fight, described to CNN by multiple sources, underscores the new challenges as congressional committees and Mueller’s operation head into a more intense phase of their parallel — and sometimes, conflicting — investigations into Russian election meddling and any collusion with Trump associates.

There are three committees on Capitol Hill competing for information and witnesses — and there is little, if any, communication among them, even as congressional officials say they all are preparing to intensify the pace of their inquiries this fall. While the Hill investigations into Russia’s meddling have been underway since the beginning of the year, the next few months could be the most consequential in terms of hearing from witnesses and gathering documents, sources say.

That could mean early signs of tension between the special counsel and the Hill become more pronounced as the competing congressional inquiries try to determine whether there was any collusion and as Mueller potentially pursues criminal charges.

Other Stories of Interest