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Archive for March, 2018

U.S. Investigators Discovered DNC Hacker Was a Russian Intelligence Operative

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The hacker Guccifer 2.0, who claimed responsibility for providing WikiLeaks with stolen e-mails from the Democratic National Committee, has been identified as a Russian intelligence operative, according to a new report.

Guccifer inadvertently revealed his identity after failing to disguise his IP address by activating a virtual private network – VPN, the Daily Beast reports

That enabled U.S. investigators to capture the Moscow IP address in the logs of a U.S. social media company and track down the hacker’s identity.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election has netted indictments against 13 Russians and three Russian companies, has taken over the Guccifer probe.

U.S. intelligence agency suspected Guccifer was a Russian military operation at least as early as January 2017.

Trump’s Legal Team Shrinks As Mueller Investigation inches Closer

President Trump at the White House, via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s team of lawyers continues to shrink as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation inches closer to the president.

Trump opted against hiring two lawyers whose appointments were announced less than a week ago.

“The president is disappointed that conflicts prevent Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing from joining the president’s special counsel legal team,” Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said in a statement to the New York Times. “However, those conflicts do not prevent them from assisting the president in other legal matters. The president looks forward to working with them.”

The conflict stems from Toensing’s representation of Mark Corallo, the former spokesman for Trump’s legal team who told investigators he believed Trump aide, Hope Hicks, may have been trying to hide evidence related to a secret meeting between a Russian lawyer and campaign aides, including Donald Trump Jr.

DiGenova and Toensing are married.

Also last week, Trump’s top lawyer in the special counsel probe, John Dowd, quit after the president ramped up his rhetoric against Mueller.

Trump denied reports over the weekend that he was having trouble finding attorneys willing to represent him.

“Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case…don’t believe the Fake News narrative that it is hard to find a lawyer who wants to take this on. Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted. Problem is that a new lawyer or law firm will take months to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more), which is unfair to our great country – and I am very happy with my existing team. Besides, there was NO COLLUSION with Russia, except by Crooked Hillary and the Dems!” Trump tweeted Sunday.

$130,000 Payment to Stormy Daniels May Have Violated Campaign Finance Laws

Stormy Daniels speaks out on “60 Minutes.”

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Hush money paid to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels may have amounted to an illegal campaign contribution to Donald Trump’s campaign, according to  Trevor Potter, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, previously acknowledged he used $130,000 of his own money to pay Daniels keep quiet about an alleged 2006 affair with Trump.

Potter told Anderson Cooper in a “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday that the payment may have violated campaign-finance laws. 

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Trump’s campaign and his time in office, could take up the issue.

“The payment of the money just creates an enormous legal mess for, I think, Trump, for Cohen and anyone else who was involved in this in the campaign,” Potter said.

Fired FBI Deputy Director McCabe Denies Wrongdoing, Speaks of Trump’s ‘Cruelty’

Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe spoke out about his termination, denying in a Washington Post op-ed that he did anything wrong. 

“Not in my worst nightmares did I ever dream my FBI career would end this way,” McCabe wrote. 

McCabe denied Justice Department allegations of “lack of candor,” saying, “That is not true. I did not knowingly mislead or lie to investigators.”

He added, “I answered questions as completely and accurately as I could. And when I realized that some of my answers were not fully accurate or may have been misunderstood, I took the initiative to correct them.”

McCabe responded to Trump’s tweet celebrating the firing.

“I was sad, but not surprised, to see that such unhinged public attacks on me would continue into my life after my service to the FBI,” McCabe wrote. “President Trump’s cruelty reminded me of the days immediately following the firing of James B. Comey, as the White House desperately tried to push the falsehood that people in the FBI were celebrating the loss of our director. The president’s comments about me were equally hurtful and false, which shows that he has no idea how FBI people feel about their leaders.

Last week, it was revealed that McCabe had overseen an investigation into whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions committed perjury in congressional testimony about his contacts with Russia.

Sessions ultimately made the decision to fire McCabe for essentially the same allegations that the attorney general was accused of.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Agent Dies at 48 After Exposure to 9/11 Toxins at Pentagon Crash Site

Former FBI Agent Mellisa Morrow, via GoFundMe.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who was exposed to contaminants while working at the Pentagon crash site in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks died last week of brain cancer.

Special Agent Melissa Morrow, 48, who served in the Washington Field Office’s Evidence Response Team on 9/11, was one of the first responders after a passenger jet crashed into the building, KMBZ reports

The FBI said she came in contact with numerous toxins while spending 10 weeks combing over evidence at the site.

Because she was certified by the World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, her death was classified as a Line of Duty Death.

Visitation is scheduled for Tuesday from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Country Club Christian Church at 6101 Ward Parkway in Kansa City. The funeral will follow after visitation.   

Weekend Series on Crime History: Mafia Documentary on Tony ‘The Ant’ Spilotro

House Lawmakers Reject Funding for Trump’s Revised Plan to Build New FBI Headquarters

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C., named after J. Edgar Hoover.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The long-delayed plan to build a new FBI headquarters has hit yet another snag.

House lawmakers said they aren’t comfortable funding a new headquarters until the Trump administration can justify why it scrapped a decade-long plan for a new building in the suburbs.

Trump’s plan calls for demolishing the J. Edgar Hoover headquarters in Washington D.C, and constructing a new building in its place.

“The Act does not include funding for the revised Headquarters consolidation plan released on February 12, 2018, because many questions regarding the new plan remain unanswered, including the revision of longstanding security requirements and changes to headquarters capacity in the national capital region,” lawmakers wrote of the omnibus spending bill, which funds agencies for the rest of the year, according to Federal News Radio. “Until these concerns are addressed and the appropriate authorizing Committees approve a prospectus, the Committees are reluctant to appropriate additional funds for this activities.”

The new proposal prompted the General Services Administration Inspector Carol Ochoa to open an investigation into the sudden change in plans.

The omnibus bill, however, includes $370 million for other FBI construction projects.

But on Friday morning, Trump threatened to veto the bill.

“I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded,” Trump tweeted.

FBI Director Wray Pledges to Run Bureau ‘By the Book’ After Latest Trump Administration Firing

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

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray, whose bureau has come under relentless attacks by President Trump, pledged to his staff that he’s committed to leading the agency “objectively and independently, and by the book.”

Wray’s email to staff, first reported by CNN, follows the controversial firing of former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a frequent Trump target accused of a “lack of candor” during a Justice Department inquiry.  

“And while I still cannot comment on specifics of that, or any, personnel matter, I wanted the public to know — and I want you to know — that I remain committed to doing things objectively and independently, and by the book,” Wray wrote to his roughly 35,000 employees.

“That commitment applies not just to our investigations and our intelligence analysis, but to personnel and disciplinary decisions as well,” he continued.

Wray insisted earlier this week that McCabe’s firing was not influenced by politics.

The FBI has been subjected to a brutal campaign by the president to discredit the bureau, which is overseeing the special counsel investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice and whether his campaign colluded with Russia to tip the scale on the election.

To help restore the bureau’s battered image, McCabe said he has “started to engage with the media” in an effort to “reintroduce  the American public to who and what we are.”

Other Stories of Interest