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Archive for January, 2018

Steve Bannon Hires Lawyer Ahead of Interview with Trump-Russia Investigators

Steve Bannon, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former White House chief adviser Steve Bannon has lawyered up as he prepares to answer questions from officials investigating allegations of collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Bannon, who suggested in an explosive new book that some of Trump’s top campaign aides may have violated serious laws, has retained Bill Burck, of the firm Quinn Emanuel, The Daily Beast reports

Burck’s task is to help Bannon prepare for questions from the House intelligence committee as early as next week.

Burck also is representing former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House Counsel Don McGahn as part of the Trump-Russia probe.

Bannon plans to fully cooperate with the investigation, sources told the Daily Beast.

In an interview with Michael Wolff, the author of the tell-all book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” Bannon described some of Trump’s top campaign aides as naive, unethical and clumsy, seemingly unaware of the repercussions of meeting with a Russian attorney who pledged to provide documents that would “incriminate” Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Bannon said he was dumbfounded.

“The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor – with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers.

“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”

Bannon even suggested Trump was aware of the Trump Tower meeting.

“The chance that Don Jr did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero.”

Bannon, who previously criticized the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey, said he doesn’t expect a conclusion to the special counsel investigation anytime soon. He added that the probe into alleged collision with the Kremlin will focus on money laundering, saying, “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”

Since Robert Mueller was appointed in May to lead the Russia-Trump investigation, four members of Trump’s inner circle have been indicted – and two have already pleaded guilty and plan to cooperate with the special counsel’s team.

Other Stories of Interest

Maryland Man Pleads Guilty in Delaware to Posing as FBI Agent

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Maryland man, who wore a replica FBI badge around his neck, and asked for and received discounts when purchasing certain firearms accessories, has pleaded guilty in Delaware to impersonating an FBI agent, the Associated Press reports.

On Wednesday, Eric Kappesser, 28, of Stevensville agreed to plead guilty to one count of impersonating a federal official, which carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Prosecutors agreed to drop a second count of impersonation, as well as one count of unauthorized possession of a badge, AP reports.

Trump Accuses FBI Agent in Clinton Probe of ‘Treason’

President Trump

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President Donald Trump on Thursday continued his aggressive campaign to try and discredit the FBI as the special counsel’s probe into the Russia affair moves forward.

During an interview with The Wall Street Journal,  Trump said FBI agent  Peter Strzok,  who was ousted from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team last July, committed treason, Business Insider reports. 

“A man is tweeting to his lover that if [former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton] loses, we’ll essentially do the insurance policy,” Trump said. “We’ll go to phase two and we’ll get this guy out of office.”

“This is the FBI we’re talking about — that is treason,” he continued. “That is a treasonous act. What he tweeted to his lover is a treasonous act.”

David Gelios, Head of the Detroit FBI, Retiring to Take Job in Private Sector

David Gelios

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT —  David Gelios, the head of the Detroit FBI since late 2015, who oversaw a number of major investigations involving public corruption in Macomb County and Detroit, is retiring to take a job with the Roger Penske organization, Roop Raj of Fox 2 reports.

Gelios will reach the FBI’s mandatory retirement age of 57 in September. He will step down at the end of the month. A replacement has yet to be named.

“I’ll be a west region vice president of security situated out of San Diego, California,” Gelios tells Fox 2.

Gelios, an affable man who was not easily shaken, served as the chief inspector of the FBI’s Inspection Division before coming to Detroit. His duties included overseeing all FBI field office inspections, national program reviews and agent-involved shooting investigations.

He’s been with the FBI since 1995.

A native of Ohio and graduate of Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., he is a former high school teacher, college coach, and outreach officer for the University of California Office of the President.

Police Probe Shooting Involving DEA Agent in Arizona

Tuscon on USA map

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Tucson police detectives are investigating a shooting involving a DEA agent Wednesday afternoon near the Tucson airport, the Arizona Daily Star reports. No one was injured.

At about 2 p.m., members of the DEA Task Force were conducting an investigation in the area of East Valencia Road and South Country Club Road when the DEA agent tried to stop a vehicle.

A man and a woman jumped out of the vehicle and fled. The DEA agent chased the man on foot, and at some point,  the suspect pulled out a handgun and attempted to carjack a vehicle.

The driver of the vehicle drove off before the suspect could get into it, the paper reports.

The suspect was later found in a desert area and arrested without incident.

 

Trump Takes Shot At FBI After Mentioning Fox & Friends

President Donald Trump

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President Donald Trump continued to take shots at the FBI.

On Thursday, Trump suggested in an early morning tweet that  the FBI used the Russia dossier to “spy on the Trump campaign” and “influence the Election,”  according to Media-Ite.

He also mentioned “@foxandfriends” in his tweet.

With Upcoming Election, FBI Unit Plans to Alert U.S. Companies About Foreign Disinformation and Social Media Manipulation

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

With a new election approaching, the FBI is concerned.

The FBI’s “foreign influence” task force plans to alert U.S. companies and the public about efforts by Russia or other nations to use disinformation and social media manipulation to interfere in upcoming elections, Bloomberg News reports.

At the same time, the feds are being careful not to upset free speech and constitutional rights, a top law enforcement official said.

Bloomberg reports:

The direction that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “foreign influence” task force is heading could dramatically reshape the relationship between government and social media companies in order to address vulnerabilities that enabled Russia to meddle in the 2016 election.

“We’ve been reluctant in some instances to share the amount of information of what we know about what’s happening,” said Jeffrey Tricoli, a top FBI official heading the task force. “You can’t stay with the same strategy if you think there needs to be changes. So going forward there’s going to be opportunities for us to share information in better ways.”

 

GOP Lawmakers Push for Comey to Testify in Clinton Probe

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

GOP lawmakers are trying to beat the drum louder on the probe into the FBI Hillary Clinton investigation.

House Republicans are preparing to ask former FBI Director James Comey to testify as part of the Republican-led probe into the FBI and Justice Department handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, CNN reports, noting:

Comey’s testimony, if he appeared, would raise the stakes of the joint Judiciary and Oversight Committee investigation into the decision not to charge the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee over classified emails on her private server — and the rare step for Comey to publicly announce Clinton would not be charged — as the probe has become a proxy battle on Capitol Hill between Democrats and Republicans over special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

 “I think that would be essential,” says Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican.  We’re going to have to find out from James Comey why the normal procedures were ignored in this case.”