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Archive for January, 2019

Right-Wing Media Gets Whackier, Calling for Abolishment of FBI

Fox News’ Sean Hannity interviews President Trump, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s most stubborn defenders in the right-wing media have taken their attacks on the FBI to another whacky level.

Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett called for scrapping the FBI because, he insisted, it’s part of a deep state conspiracy to bring down the president.

“This is an all-powerful, out of control agency,” Jarrett said on Sean Hannity’s show Monday. “Rogue agency. And frankly, it’s time that it be halted in its tracks and reorganized and replaced with a new organization that has legal restraints imposed upon it and accountable to somebody. When the boss of the FBI Rod Rosenstein is in bed with his subordinates, inventing a counter-intelligence case against the President with no probable cause, no reasonable suspicion, no credible evidence. It is time that the FBI be halted.”

Fox legal analyst Gregg Jarrett just called for the FBI to be disbanded over reports that they are investigating Trump

“Frankly, it’s time that it be halted in its tracks, reorganized and replaced” pic.twitter.com/szhaOSLOve

— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) January 15, 2019

A day earlier, Joel Pollak from the far right-wing site Breitbart, wrote that it’s “time to scrap the FBI and start over fresh with a reorganized agency under a new name and with an improved commitment to neutrality and accountability.”

Never mind that most of the top FBI officials who have been accused of a running a rogue bureau are lifelong Republicans. Or that fired FBI Director James Comey may have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency by suggesting he was reopening the investigation into her email server just days before the election.

The accusations and suggestions have gotten so bizarre and devoid of evidence that some Republicans are speaking out against the feverish right-wing media.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, of Tennessee, recently said Trump has ushered in the “tyranny of the right-wing media” and must be stopped before propaganda replaces facts.

Not So Fast! Mueller Signals Investigation of Russian Meddling Is Far from Over

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

It appears special counsel Robert Mueller is not ready to close his 20-month investigation into Russia’s election interference.

A judge Tuesday agreed to delay the sentencing of former Trump campaign official Rick Gates because he “continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations,” according to a joint statement by his defense attorneys and Mueller’s team.

Gates, whose attorneys asked for a two-month delay, is a key witness in investigations involving the Trump campaign and inauguration.

In another development reported by ABC News, Mueller’s team has subpoenaed three new witnesses connected to Jerome Corsi, a Roger Stone associate and the former Washington D.C. bureau chief for the far right-wing internet site Infowars. They will be required to testify before a grand jury about Russian election meddling.

Mueller was said to be preparing a final report to the Justice Department about his findings in the investigation. But the latest developments indicate Mueller’s team is far from done and is aggressively pursuing several different cases related to Russian interference.

AG Nominee Barr Was Influential in Removing Former FBI Director William Sessions

Trump’s attorney general pick, William Barr.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, knows a thing or two about firing an FBI director.

As attorney general during the final years of George W.H. Bush’s presidency, Barr laid out a case for removing William Sessions as FBI director, The Wall Street Journal reports.  

His report detailed Sessions’ lapses in judgment and ethics in hopes that Sessions would resign. But Sessions refused, so Barr’s  successor, Janet Reno, affirmed the report’s findings, prompting President Clinton to fire Sessions in July 1993.

After some lawmakers alleged Trump’s May 201y termination of Comey amounted to obstruction of justice, Barr responded in a memo in June 2018 that the argument was “fatally misconceived.”

Trump Declines Sit-Down Interview with Mueller After Responding to Limited Written Questions

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s legal team recently rejected Robert Mueller’s request for a sit-down interview with Trump after the special counsel said he was “not satisfied” with the president’s initial written response, CNN reports.

The chances of an in-person interview with Trump are slim at best. The president’s legal team firmly responded that Mueller has no cause for a follow-up interview, and Rudy Giuliani told a reporter it would happen “over my dead body.”

Just before Thanksgiving, Trump turned over written responses to limited questions about collusion with Russia before he was inaugurated. But his legal team has declined to answer questions about obstruction allegations since Trump became president.

There has been no indication that Mueller will subpoena Trump for grand jury testimony because of the murky legal questions of forcing a sitting president to testify under oath.

Trump said last year he was eager to sit down with Mueller, but his legal team expressed concerns about perjury and discouraged the president from answering questions on the fly.

Mueller is expected to soon wrap up his 20-month investigation and file his findings in a report to the Justice Department.

Secret Service Agents Who Sacrifice Their Lives to Protect the President Are Working without Pay

Photo via Secret Service.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The men and women who have sworn to sacrifice their own lives to protect the president are not receiving paychecks under the government shutdown.

The 7,000 Secret Service employees, including those on protective details and uniformed officers, missed their first paycheck of the new year.

“These are the people who are closest to him and clearly put their lives on the line for him every single day,” Rick Tyler, a Republican political consultant, told Huffington Post. “He has demonstrated no empathy for them over this situation.” 

Trump has been virtually mum on the tens of thousands of federal law enforcement officials who have been forced to work without pay. They include TSA screeners and FBI, DEA, ATF and Border Patrol agents who are considered “essential” employees.

Thousands of TSA screeners have been calling in sick in protest, causing snarls and security concerns at airports.

The irony is that the shutdown over border protection could make the country more unsafe.

Carl Bernstein: Mueller’s Report Will Allege Trump helped Kremlin ‘destabilize’ the U.S.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference will allege that President Trump helped the Kremlin “destabilize the United States,” according to famed journalist Carl Bernstein.

Bernstein, known for his coverage of Watergate, told CNN on Sunday that Mueller will reveal that Trump played a significant role in Russia’s propaganda campaign during the presidential election.

“This is about the most serious counterintelligence people we have in the U.S. government saying, ‘Oh, my God, the president’s words and actions lead us to conclude that somehow he has become a witting, unwitting, or half-witting pawn, certainly in some regards, to Vladimir Putin,’” Bernstein said CNN’s Reliable Sources.

“From a point of view of strength… rather, he has done what appears to be Putin’s goals. He has helped Putin destabilize the United States and interfere in the election, no matter whether it was purposeful or not,” the journalist added. He then explained that he knew from his own high-level sources that Mueller’s report would discuss this assessment.

“And that is part of what the draft of Mueller’s report, I’m told, is to be about,” he said. “We know there has been collusion by [former national security adviser Michael] Flynn. We know there has been collusion of some sort by [Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul] Manafort. The question is, yes, what did the president know and when did he know it?”

Mueller is expected to soon wrap up his investigation that began in May 2017 following the president’s termination of then-FBI Director James Comey. Mueller will then reveal what he has found in a report to the Justice Department.

Trump denied the allegations and suggested he has been “maybe tougher (on Russia) than any other President,” a claim widely disputed by historians and political analysts.

“I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again!” Trump tweeted.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Mafia Crime Boss

Airports Brace for Safety Issues As TSA Employees React to Government Shutdown

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A government shutdown over border safety could soon cause serious security problems at airports, where more than 51,000 TSA employees began working without pay Friday.

The TSA reported a 55% increase in employees calling in sick Thursday, and some airport screeners have already quit, the agency’s spokesman Michael Bilello told Bloomberg.

The TSA is responding to staff shortages by planning to close some security checkpoints at airports nationwide beginning this weekend.

Airport authorities are expressing fear that the shutdown could soon worsen security screening.

“We’re very concerned that the current situation with government employees going without pay is unsustainable in the long term,” Christopher Bidwell, a senior vice president at the Airports Council International-North America in Washington, told Bloomberg. “We certainly have to be mindful of the potential for cascading operational impacts.”

Airports also are bracing for flight delays.

The group that represents more than 10,000 air-traffic controllers, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, filed a lawsuit Friday, alleging it’s against the law to force employees to work without pay.