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Archive for April, 2018

Son-in-Law of Russian Oligarch Is First to Fall in Robert Mueller Probe

Alex van der Zwaan, via YouTube

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Dutch son-in-law of a prominent Russian billionaire became the first person Tuesday to be sentenced as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s 11-month, evolving investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Alex van der Zwaan, a London-based lawyer, was sentenced to 30 days in prison and fined $20,000 for lying to federal investigators.

The 33-year-old worked closely with Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former deputy chairman Rick Gates, both of whom have been indicted with money laundering, conspiracy and tax fraud.

Van der Zwaan, who is married to the daughter of Russian oligarch German Khan, admitted he lied to FBI agents about communications he had with Manafort’s business partner, Gates, and a person described was “Person A,” who is believed to be a former employee of Manafort’s consulting firm in Ukraine, Konstantin Kilimnik.

Van der Zwaan, who asked for no jail time, apologized in court.

Mueller, who was appointed by Trump’s Justice Department in May, has brought indictments against 19 people and three Russian companies.

Gates has pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team. Manafort continues to his innocence and could face trial as early as September.

Meet the First Transgender Woman Accepted to the FBI National Academy

Lesley Mumford became the first transgender woman to be accepted into the elite FBI National Academy.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A Colorado SWAT team coordinator made history by becoming what is believed to be the first transgender woman accept into the FBI National Academy, an elite and intense training course in Quantico, Va.

Lesley Mumford, of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, is among about 200 law enforcement agents who will attend the 10-week course beginning in July, the Summit Daily reports

“I think it’s a pretty amazing thing, a historical thing,” said Mumford, who transitioned last year. “It makes me feel that society is changing, it makes me feel that as individuals we do have the ability to change and influence the world around us.”

Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons, who nominated Mumford, hailed the moment as a groundbreaking moment for the transgender community.

“We were so proud to have her transition in the workplace, but this is the next, huge, huge, smash-the-ceiling moment,” he said. “We’re so proud of Lesley.”

Memo Reveals Scope of Mueller’s Investigation Against Trump’s ex-Campaign manager Manafort

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller was explicitly authorized by the Justice Department to investigate allegations that President Trump’s former campaign manager colluded with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election, according to a newly revealed memo.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave Mueller the green light in a classified, Aug. 2 memo that was included in a court filing Monday aimed at defending the special counsel’s scope of the probe, which so far has netted indictments against 19 people and three Russian companies. 

The memo authorized Mueller to look into allegations that the former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked with the Kremlin to meddle in the election “in violation of United States law.” The memo authorized Mueller to look into “a crime or crimes arising out of payments [Manafort] received from the Ukrainian government before and during the tenure of President Viktor Yanukovych.”

Manafort and his business partner, another former Trump campaign aide, were first indicted in October with money-laundering and other charges related to work they did for a pro-Russian political party in the Ukraine. They were charged with additional crimes earlier this year, and Gates has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors.

Dutch Attorney to Become First Person Sentenced in Russia Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A Dutch attorney accused of lying to federal law enforcement about his work with two indicted, former leaders of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is expected to become the first person today to be sentenced as part of the 11-month-old special counsel investigation led by former FBI director Robert Mueller.

Alex van der Zwaan, who pleaded guilty to lying to prosecutors and the FBI about the Russia probe, faces an estimated zero to six months in jail, according to sentencing guidelines.

Mueller’s team plans to urge a judge to impose jail time. But prosecutors didn’t indicate how much time van der Zwaan should be sent to jail, but the attorney is asking for no time behind bars because his wife, who lives in London, is pregnant and due to deliver their child in August.

“To the extent the Court seeks to take into account the circumstances of van der Zwaan’s wife’s pregnancy, consideration of that circumstance would not preclude a term of incarceration,” the special counsel’s office wrote. “In any event, a sentence that ensured van der Zwaan’s return to the United Kingdom for the birth of his child in August 2018 would be within the recommended Guidelines’ range.”

Van der Zwaan admitted he lied to prosecutors and the FBI about work he did with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his former business partner, Rick Gates, who also played a key role in the president’s campaign.

Four others who have pleaded guilty so far – including former Trump campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates, Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. But their sentencing hearings have been placed on hold while they cooperate with Mueller’s team.

Jill McCabe Speaks Out about Trump’s ‘Destructive Lies’ to Discredit Her And Husband

Andrew and Jill McCabe’s family, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Jill McCabe, wife of fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, broke her silence for the first time since coming under relentless attack from President Trump, accusing him of spreading “destructive lies” about her during what she described as a one-and-a-half-year “nightmare.”

In a Washington Post op-ed published Monday, McCabe defended her and her husband’s integrity and dismissed as “utterly absurd” the president’s suggestions that the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails had been compromised because she accepted political donations from groups connected to longtime Clinton friend, then-Virginia Gov. McAluiffe.

“Andrew’s involvement in the Clinton investigation came not only after the contributions were made to my campaign but also after the race was over,” she wrote.

Jill McCabe, an emergency room pediatrician, described herself as “an accidental politician” who decided to run for a Virginia state Senate seat as a Democrat because she wanted to expand Medicaid.

“That decision — plus some twisted reporting and presidential tweets — ended up costing my husband, Andrew, his job and our family a significant portion of his pension my husband had worked hard for over 21 years of federal service,” she wrote. “For the past year and a half of this nightmare, I have not been free to speak out about what happened. Now that Andrew has been fired, I am.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired Andrew McCabe last month, less than two days before he was set to retire, on claims of making an unauthorized disclosure to the media and “lack of candor under oath.”

Trump’s campaign to discredit the FBI gained traction among allies largely because of the president’s suggestion that the donation to McCabe’s wife compromised the Clinton email investigation.

To have my personal reputation and integrity and those of my family attacked this way is beyond horrible,” Jill McCabe wrote. “It feels awful every day. It keeps me up nights. I made the decision to run for office because I was trying to help people. Instead, it turned into something that was used to attack our family, my husband’s career and the entire FBI.”

The McCabe family more than tripled its fundraising goal in just three days to help pay for legal fees connected to future Department of Justice inspector general investigation, congressional inquiries and potential lawsuits.

Secret Service Investigating Vandalism at Trump International Golf Club

Vandalism of an entrance sign at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service is investigative the vandalism of an entrance sign at the Trump International Golf Club near the president’s Florida estate Mar-a-Lago resort over the weekend.

Red plant was splattered onto the entrance of the club at West Balm Beach, Fla. on Saturday night, and authorities found a can of paint nearby, ABC News reports

Images online show paint covering some of the letters on the polished stone structure.

The Secret Service declined to comment.

The golf club is about 5 miles from Mar-a-Lago.

Trump was spotted at the golf club this weekend.

Strikingly Similar Traits Found Among American Mass Killers in Secret Service Study

Devin Kelley killed 26 people in a Baptist church in a rural Texas town.

Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A majority of the assailants in mass attacks in the U.S. last year shared strikingly similar traits, a new Secret Service report found. 

An analysis of 28 mass attacks, which killed 147 people and injured nearly 700 more nationwide, found that all suspects were male and 64% experienced mental health issues before the assaults.

Before the attacks, 79% of them had engaged in threatening or suspicious behavior witnessed by others, according to the National Threat Assessment Center report on Mass Attacks in Public Space.

About 71% of the suspects had a criminal history, and one-third had been charged with domestic violence. Two-thirds had a history of violence, though not all of it was reported or ended in charges.

In the five years before the attacks, more than half experienced financial hardships, and 82% “exhibited behaviors that were indicative of aggressive narcissism,” the Secret Service found.

Nearly half of the suspects were driven by a personal grievance, whether real or perceived. 

Less than two months before the report was released, Nikolas Cruz is accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school after he passed a background check to buy an AR-15 assault-style rifle.

Cruz exhibited nearly every trait found in a majority of last year’s attackers.

Fired FBI Deputy McCabe More Than Triples Fundraising Goal for Legal Fund in 3 Days

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testifies before Congress.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, fired two days before he was eligible to retire with full benefits, more than tripling his original fundraising goal in just the first three days of his campaign to help cover the legal costs of impending federal government investigations.

The GoFundMe campaign’s original goal was $150,000, but McCabe quickly raised it to $250,000 after discovering the initial response had been “remarkable and beyond our expectations,” according to the legal defense fund.

McCabe, a longtime target of President Trump, maintained he did nothing wrong after Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired him last month. McCabe has repeatedly denied Justice Department allegations that he misled investigators and said he was ousted as part of a Trump to discredit the FBI.

“Andrew McCabe’s FBI career was long, distinguished, and unblemished.  He embraced the most daunting, difficult, and important challenges that the FBI and the country could assign to him over the past 21 years,” the fundraising campaign stated. “He served the United States with courage and distinction in the days following the President’s summary dismissal of former Director James Comey, in one of the most tumultuous periods in the Bureau’s history.

His reward for that has been a termination that was completely unjustified, amidst repeated ad hominem attacks by the President of the United States.”