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Archive for February, 2019

Michael James: CNN’s Van Jones Makes Same Mistake As Jussie Smollet

Michael James has spent more than 20 years in sports journalism as a general assignment reporter with the Detroit News, an NBA beat writer for the New York Daily News and as head writer for ESPN’s Quite Frankly With Stephen A. Smith. He has a blog called The Tribe Sports.

Jussie Smollett

By Michael James

If only you had set aside your emotion and rage at all the things truly worthy of your ire in America today, and engaged your critical and analytical mind, you would have known something was off about the alleged attack on Jussie Smollett the moment you heard it.

And many of you did – as did I – but we were in the minority.

While it is true that all kinds of strange and incomprehensible crimes are possible, it never seemed realistic that a B-list, secondary character on Fox Television’s Empire would be attacked on one of the coldest nights in Chicago history in a crime that ticked all the right boxes – racism, homophobia and white nationalism.

Yet and still, Americans from all walks of life – blacks in particular – accepted this wild tale, hook, line and sinker. As did celebrities, athletes and politicians like Nancy Pelosi and 2020 presidential hopefuls Kamala Harris, Joe Biden and Cory Booker.

While the rest of the Windy City was barricaded behind warm closed doors, we were fed a tale of an assault at 2 a.m. by a pair of white Trump supporters who just happened to be carting around a noose, bleach and a MAGA hat, looking for a victim who fit the bill as tightly for their ill intent as Jussie Smollett.

Somehow, despite all the outlandish coincidences that needed to occur for this “crime” to actually happen, many suspended all disbelief, reasoning that in Trump’s America, this could plausibly happen.

Then, they took to Twitter and Facebook to vent their anger.

Even today, when apologies should be flowing like water in the aftermath of Smollett’s arrest for orchestrating the lie, some, like CNN’s Van Jones, are still engaging in ridiculous hyperbole.

In a roundtable discussion, Jones likened Smollet’s demise to the fall of an icon, the baseball player Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

Historical Ignorance

In a stunning display of historical ignorance, Jones claimed that Smollet’s role on Empire as a beloved gay black character somehow made him an iconic figure to the black community – on par with the great Robinson.

It was a disgusting comparison which was equal only to the outrageous transgression of Smollett in believing that his hair-brained ruse would withstand the test of time.

In other words, Jones made the same mistake as Smollett: he overestimated Smollet’s importance.

Read more »

FBI’s Top Lawyer Says People Argued Up Until the End Whether to File Charges Against Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some people inside the FBI felt strongly that Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted for email scandal. But there were also plenty who trusted then-Director James Comey’s decision not to push for prosecution.

Fox News, citing a transcript of his closed-door testimony before congressional committees last October, reports that  FBI’s top lawyer  James Baker in 2016 thought Clinton and her team should have immediately realized they were mishandling “highly classified” information based on the obviously sensitive nature of the emails. He also believed Clinton should have been prosecuted until “pretty late” in the investigation.

He said high-level officials at the bureau were “arguing about” whether to bring charges against Clinton, “I think, up until the end.”

 

Donny Deutsch, Friend of Michael Cohen, Says Trump Has Plenty to Worry About

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Donny Deutsch, a good friend of embattled lawyer Michael Cohen, says President Trump has a lot to worry about in New York where the U.S. Attorney is dealing with the Cohen case.

Deutsch, who considers himself an ex-friend of Trump, appeared Wednesday night on NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers Show, said of Cohen and Trump:

“I think one of the reasons Trump is so panicked,  I mean, he was his guy. Other than his kids, he was front and center.”

Meyers asks should Trump be worried about Cohen cooperating, to which he says:

“He should be very worried…What’s going to take him down is, and Michael Cohen will be one of the people very important to this, is I believe, the Southern District, and there going to what I call, RICO him.”

Column: Signs of a Deep State or Just The FBI Doing Its Job?

Timothy L. O’Brien is the executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion.

Andrew McCabe

By Timothy O’Brien
Bloomberg

Andrew McCabe, who briefly served as acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the tumultuous months in 2017 after President Donald Trump fired James Comey, is making the rounds to promote his new book, “The Threat.”

Senior law enforcement officials putting their names to sensitive details of ongoing investigations – particularly ones as consequential and fraught as the current examination of the president’s intersection with Russia – is problematic. Going on tour is doubly ticklish. If G-Men are really dedicated to ensuring that justice is served and investigations are sacrosanct, then the public might expect them to remain behind the scenes until a probe runs its course.

To read the full column click here.

FBI Had Backup Plan to Protect Evidence in Russia Probe After Comey Firing

Former FBI Director James Comey on ABC’s 20/20.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Distrust.

The FBI had a backup plan to protect evidence in its Russia investigation shortly after FBI Director James Comey was fired, the Associated Press reports, citing “a person with knowledge of the discussions.”

The idea was to preserve evidence in case other FBI officials were fired as well.

The AP reports:

The plan was crafted in the chaotic days after Comey was fired, when the FBI began investigating whether President Donald Trump had obstructed justice and whether he might be, wittingly or not, in league with the Russians.

 

FBI Dismantling Unit that Investigates International War Crimes

Torture man with tide hands. Vertical. Warm light.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Human rights groups are concerned about this latest move by the FBI.

The agency  is dismantling a special unit that investigates international war crimes and hunts down war criminals, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting has learned.

Reveal goes on to report:

The unit, which was created a decade ago and has its roots in federal efforts to hunt down Nazis living in the United States after World War II, has had a hand in many high-profile prosecutions…

In a statement, the FBI confirmed the shuttering of the war crimes unit but argued its dissolution “in no way reflects a reduced commitment by the FBI” to enforce human rights law. The agents previously dedicated to human rights work will continue that work as members of the FBI’s civil rights program, the agency said.

But the move could run afoul of Congress, which mandated the unit’s establishment and funds its work every year as part of the FBI’s budget. Sources tell Reveal that most of the agents previously dedicated to human rights likely will now be assigned to other jobs and worry that perpetrators of torture and genocide will be free to act with impunity.

Rod Rosenstein Plans to Step Down From Justice Next Month

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifying before a House committee in December 2017.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has weathered some pretty rocky times at the Justice Department,  is expected to step down in mid-March, CNN reports, citing a Justice Department official.

The official disputed any suggestion that the timing has something to do with the latest revelations from former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who claims that Rosenstein volunteered to wear a wire when meeting with President Trump.

CNN has reported that Attorney General Bill Barr has selected Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein.

The Weiner is Released From Prison

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner, whose misbehavior on social media landed him behind bars,  has been been released from federal prison and is serving out the rest of his sentence in a halfway house, CNN reports.

Weiner was sentenced in 2017 to 21 months in federal prison for sexting with a minor. He served about 15 months before he was transferred to a residential re-entry center in Brooklyn, New York.
In October, Weiner got three months sliced off his time for good behavior, making him eligible for release from the system on May 14.