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Archive for June, 2018

Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: FBI Is Redacting Documents Without Credible Justification

FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray

By the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray want Congress to trust them about the FBI’s actions in 2016. That would be easier if not for daily proof that they continue to play games when redacting documents.

Senate oversight Chairman Ron Johnson exposed the latest unjustified blackouts in a June 8 letter to Mr. Wray. The Wisconsin Republican is one of several Chairmen objecting to the FBI’s excessive redactions and its refusal to even supply the standard “log” with justifications for each redaction. Under pressure, Justice grudgingly invited Johnson staffers to review some documents in late May.

Those sessions revealed that the bureau is redacting in a way that stymies Congress’s ability to run down leads in its oversight of the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump investigations. Notably, Justice and the FBI have been redacting names or initials of employees involved in handling those cases. This frustrates Congress’s ability to seek more information or interviews with those individuals.

Read complete editorial.

Washington Post Editorial: Reputation of Justice Department ‘Is Now More In Danger Than It Has Been Since Watergate’

President Donald Trump

By The Washington Post Editorial Board

THURSDAY BROUGHT a sad moment for the Justice Department. The department filed a brief in a frivolous legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But instead of following nearly all past practice, the department sided with the challengers. Defending major, duly passed federal statutes is a core Justice Department responsibility. If it defended only laws the president liked, uncertainty about the permanence of many laws would reign, particularly as the presidency changed hands.

There is some precedent for the Justice Department’s move. During the Obama presidency, the department declined to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that, though noxious, Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed. Government lawyers should have defended it up to the point at which the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. By declining to do so, they inadvertently gave the department’s current leadership some cover to refuse to defend Obamacare.

Yet there are big differences. The Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to legally united same-sex couples, was so obviously rooted in prejudice that it posed a major threat to important constitutional principles. The challengers to that law had by leaps and bounds the better side of the argument. The latest challenge to Obamacare, by contrast, is harebrained.

The editorial concludes:

The nation’s premier law enforcement agency built a reputation for evenhandedness and independence over the course of decades. That reputation is now more in danger than it has been since Watergate. The threat derives not from self-serving accusations that Justice officials conspired against Mr. Trump but from Mr. Trump and his enablers politicizing the department.

To read the full editorial click here.

Attorney For Ex-Hill Staffer Accuses Trump, DOJ of Making Inappropriate Comments About Criminal Case

Attorney Preston Burton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The lawyer for a former top staff member of the Senate Intelligence Committee charged with lying to the FBI about his contacts with reporters, alleged Wednesday that the Justice Department and President Donald Trump have made inappropriate comments about the case that could poison the jury pool, the New York Times reports.

Attorney Preston Burton made the remarks on Wednesday as his client, James A. Wolfe, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington.

Burton alleged that government officials, including President Trump, made statements that impugned his client’s character by implying that Wolf  had illegally leaked national security secrets.

The Times reports:

Two of the three charges against Mr. Wolfe related to allegations that he told reporters nonpublic information that he had learned as a result of his role as a staff member of the Intelligence Committee. But none of the false statement charges accuse Mr. Wolfe of leaking classified information.

Mr. Burton pointed to a Justice Department news release about the case, which framed Mr. Wolfe’s purported false statements as arising in “the course of an investigation into the unlawful disclosure of classified information.” He also criticized as “glib” comments made by Mr. Trump on Friday when the president spoke to reporters about the case.

 

 

Sessions Says There Could Be More Firings in Wake of IG Report on FBI

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions hints that there could be more firings after the release of a Justice Department inspector general report on missteps during ex-FBI Director James Comey’s era, The Hill reports.

Sessions told The Hill’s new morning show “Rising” that the IG report will better help the agency improve from past mistakes that led to Comey’s firing last year.

“If anyone else shows up in this report to have done something that requires termination we will do so,” he said.

 

Former DOJ Press Spokesman: Trump Administration Doesn’t Respect Press’s Need to Do Job

Matthew Miller

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Matthew Miller, the former director of public affairs for the Department of Justice under the Obama administration, takes a swipe at the Trump Administration, telling the New York Times:

“I don’t think people in this administration respect the press’s need to do its job at all. And they couldn’t care less about bad press coverage. So both of the checks on what is otherwise their unfettered ability to use the law to obtain journalist records are kind of gone right now.”

Miller is quoted in an article in the Times which talks about the Justice Department seizing years of phone and email records from Ali Watkins, a New York Times journalist, raising concerns that the Trump administration is adopting a highly aggressive approach, continuing a crackdown that ramped up in the Obama years.

To be fair, the Obama administration obtained private records from reporters at Fox News and The Associated Press, triggering strong objections from the media.

Off-Duty FBI Agent Charged in Accidental Shooting at Denver Club

FBI agent Chase Bishop.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Denver District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday charged the off-duty FBI agent in connection with the discharge of his weapon while doing a back flip on the dance floor at a Denver nightclub on June 2. A customer suffered a serious, but non-life threatening gunshot injury in the lower leg.

Chase Bishop, 29, is charged with one count of assault in the second degree. He  turned himself in to Denver Police on Tuesday.

Additional charges may be filed based on the results of a pending blood alcohol content (BAC) analysis.

“We are filing this charge now rather than waiting until the BAC report is received, which we understand could take another week, because sufficient evidence has been presented to file it,” District Attorney Beth McCann said in a statement “If an additional charge needs to be filed after further evidence is received, we can file those charges then.”

Bishop is scheduled to make an appearance in court on Wednesday.

McCabe Files Lawsuit, Claiming Feds Refuse to Turn Over Documents Related to His Firing

Ex-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is digging in for a legal battle.

He’s suing the FBI, the Justice Department and its inspector general for refusing to turn over documents related to her firing, NPR reports. You might recall that McCabe was fired  hours before his planned retirement in March for “lack of candor” regarding information provided to the media.

Consequently, McCabe and his family were stripped of their health care benefits. It also delayed his ability to collect a federal pension.

McCabe’s lawyer, David Snyder, filed the suit, claiming:

“Those requests have been denied by some of the same high-ranking officials who were involved in, or responsible for, the investigation, adjudication, and/or dismissal of Mr. McCabe,” the legal complaint said.

DEA Agent Wants Oklahoma Voters to Know Facts on Pot Measure on the Ballot

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Oklahomans will vote whether to legalize medical marijuana.

So, the head of Oklahoma’s DEA office, Richard Salter, is going around delivering a 45-minute presentation, saying people need to know the facts.  He says the bill is really about recreational use, not medical, News on 6 reports.

“I think Oklahoma will be the first state, if this passes, to have no qualifying medical condition. That means you go to the doctor and say, ‘Even though there’s nothing wrong with me, I’d like a medical marijuana card,’” Salter said.
NewsOn6.com – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – KOTV.com |