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Archive for December, 2017

FBI Warned Trump That Russian Spies, Hackers Would Target Campaign

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just weeks after Donald Trump won the Republican nomination in July 2016, top FBI officials warned him that Russia and other foreign adversaries likely would spy on and even infiltrate his campaign.

Trump and Hillary Clinton were issued the warning during a high-level counterintelligence briefing by senior FBI officials, NBC News reports. They were urged to notify the FBI if they encountered any suspicions.

Less than a month earlier, Trump urged Russia to hack Clinton’s emails during a news conference in Florida. The FBI warned that foreign hackers could endanger  national security because the candidates were about to receive classified information. 

During the campaign, Trump never divulged to to the FBI that his inner circle had met with Russian officials.

DEA: Biggest Opioid Distribution in U.S. History ‘Hijacked’ by Federal Lawyers

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A painstaking, two-year investigation into the biggest opioid distribution case in U.S. history yielded what investigators said was solid evidence that the company had failed to report suspicious orders of highly addictive painkillers.

But instead of bringing big penalties to the first-ever criminal case against a drug distribution company, the nation’s largest company, McKesson Corp., top attorneys at the DEA and Justice Department intervened, striking an agreement that was “far more lenient than the field division wanted,” according to the Washington Post

“This is the best case we’ve ever had against a major distributor in the history of the Drug Enforcement Administration,” said Schiller, who recently retired as assistant special agent in charge of DEA’s Denver field division after a 30-year career with the agency. “I said, ‘How do we not go after the number one organization?’ ”

Schiller called the intervention “insulting.”

“Morale has been broken because of it,” he added.

Helen Kaupang, a DEA investigator and supervisor for 29 years who worked on the McKesson case in Denver, minced no words: “Within the ranks, we feel like our system was hijacked.”

The Post wrote:

The result illustrates the long-standing conflict between drug investigators, who have taken an aggressive approach to a prescription opioid epidemic that killed nearly 200,000 people between 2000 and 2016, and the government attorneys who handle those cases at the DEA and the Justice Department.

None of McKesson’s warehouses would lose their DEA registrations. The company, a second-time offender, had promised in 2008 to be more diligent about the diversion of its pills to the street. It ultimately agreed to temporarily suspend controlled substance shipments at four distribution centers and pay a $150 million fine.

Border Arrests Surge Amid Trump’s Pledge to Decrease Illegal Crossings

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s pledge to prevent undocumented immigrants from entering the U.S. has hit a major snag as arrests surge along the Southwest border.

According to a new federal government report, people being arrested or denied entry along the Mexican border has increased for the seventh straight month. 

Those cases reached 39,006 in November, marking a 12% increase over October. The cases have more than doubled since April.

While it’s unclear how many undocumented immigrants are slipping into the country undetected, the number of arrests and entry denials are a good indicator of the trends in people trying to enter the U.S. illegally.

Trump has trumpeted the decline in arrests during the early months of his presidency. What’s unclear is why the numbers are rising.

Inspector General: Immigration Detention Centers Filthy, Inhumane

A overcrowded, cold detention facility in Tucson.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Several immigration detention centers are so riddled with problems that they “undermine the protection of detainees’ rights, their humane treatment, and the provision of a safe and healthy environment,” according to the Homeland Security inspector general.

Among the findings during unannounced visits were spoiled and moldy food, poor medical care and inadequate treatment of detainees, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports

Acting Inspector General John Kelly identified four detention centers with problems.

“Staff did not always treat detainees respectfully and professionally, and some facilities may have misused segregation,” the report found, adding that observers found “potentially unsafe and unhealthy detention conditions.”

Other Stories of Interest

Trump Suggests Misconduct in Russia Probe, But Says He Won’t Fire Mueller

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump echoed his lawyers’ claims Sunday that the special counsel team investigating his campaign’s ties to Russia had engaged in improper conduct, but said he has no plans to fire Robert Mueller, the leader of the quickly evolving probe.

Fielding a few questions from reporters at the White House after returning from Camp David, Trump was asked by ABC News whether he was considering canning Mueller.

“No, I’m not,” said Trump, who has repeatedly portrayed the investigation as politically motivated. “What, are you surprised?”

A lawyer for Trump’s transition team claimed this weekend that Mueller’s team obtained a large batch of e-mails from the period between the 2016 election and the Jan. 20 inauguration without the required consent from the transition team.

A spokesman for Mueller’s team rejected any wrongdoing. 

“When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller’s office, told the Washington Post

Trump said he’s not worried about the contents of the emails.

“I can’t imagine there’s anything on them, because as we said there’s no collusion,” Trump said. “There was no collusion whatsoever.”

Weekend Series on Law Enforcement History: Nixon and LBJ Talk About Death of FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover

Trump Calls FBI ‘Disgraceful,’ Then Praises the Bureau at National Academy

President Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump heaped praise and insults on the FBI on Friday, sending very mixed signals about a bureau he earlier this month had claimed was “in tatters” and “the worst in history.”

Speaking to reporters before speaking at the FBI’s National Academy, Trump called the bureau “disgraceful.”

“It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI,’’ the president told reporters. “We’re going to rebuild the FBI, it’ll be bigger and better than ever, but it is very sad when you look at those documents, and how they’ve done that is really, really disgraceful and you have a lot of very angry people that are seeing it.”

But while speaking to more than 200 law enforcement officers who graduated from the FBI’s National Academy, Trump said, “The President of the United States has your back, 100%.”

He added: “I have so many friends that are police officers, so many people in the FBI, these are great, great people. These are really heroes to all of us.”

Trump has been at odds with the FBI over an ongoing investigation into his campaign’s inner circle and Russia. Former FBI Director James Comey said he was fired by the president for refusing to stop an investigation into Trump’s ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn.

When asked Friday whether he would pardon Flynn, who recently pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, Trump responded, “We’ll see.”

Trump to Visit FBI Academy Following Sharp Criticism of Bureau

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump, who boasted that the FBI is “in tatters” and “the worst in history,” will visit the bureau’s National Academy in Quantico, Va., today to speak with what could be a skeptical audience.

Trump will take part in the FBI’s graduation ceremony at a time of strained relations between the president and the bureau’s leadership.

The criticism prompted Trump’s FBI Director Christopher Wray to defend the bureau against heightening rhetoric as the special counsel investigation into Russia and the president’s aides continues to heat up.

Trump planned to visit FBI headquarters in May, but it was canceled following his firing of then-Director James come.