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Archive for May, 2020

Judge in Flynn Case Appoints Ex-Judge to Look Into Case After DOJ Moves to Drop It

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/court photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In a case riddled with unusual twists, the federal judge in Washington overseeing the case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn has appointed a former prosecutor and judge to oversee and oppose the Justice Department’s effort to drop the case, the New York Times reports.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Washington appointed former judge, John Gleeson, who is also a former federal prosecutor. Flynn pleaded guilty twice to lying to investigators as part of a larger probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. He later tried to withdraw his plea.

Last week, in what many considered a highly unusual move, the Justice Department moved to drop the charges. Subsequently, critics including former federal prosecutors, accused Attorney General William Barr of undermining the rule of law.
Sullivan’s appointment complicates the DOJ’s move to dismiss the case.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Rips ex-FBI Director James Comey

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former press secretary for President Donald Trump, ripped into ex-FBI Director James Comey in a tweet on Thursday.


Sanders has been active in fundraising for Trump for the 2020 election. Since his firing, Comey has been very anti-Trump and made it clear he’ll vote against him.

FBI Serves Search Warrant on Sen. Burr Over Stock Sell-Off Amid Coronavirus

Sen. Richard Burr

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI agents served a search warrant and seized Sen. Richard Burr’s cell phone as part of an investigation of his mass sell-off of stocks, a law enforcement official told The Los Angeles Times.

Burr, a Republican from North Carolina who also serves as the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, has been under a Justice Department investigation after selling a significant chunk of his stock portfolio on Feb. 13, when his committee was receiving daily updates on the coronavirus.

A week later, the stock market declined sharply.

The Justice Department is investigating whether Bur violated a law that bars members of Congress from trading on insider information obtained from their privileged position.

Barr sold off between $628,000 and $1.7 million of his portfolio, ProPublica first reported.

FBI Arrests Cleveland Man Accused of Plotting to Kidnap, Kill And Steal Weapons from Law Enforcement

Christian Stanley Ferguson, via Summit County Jail.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a 20-year-old Cleveland man accused of plotting to ambush law enforcement, kill them and steal their weapons to begin an uprising, the bureau announced Tuesday.

Christian Stanley Ferguson was taken into custody at Cuyahoa Valley National Park without incident Friday and charged with attempted kidnapping.

Ferguson caught the attention of law enforcement by posting violent and extremist posts on the Discord app, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday.

“Over several weeks, Ferguson discussed his desire to call police to report a false crime was in progress to prompt a response by law enforcement,” the FBI said in a statement. “Specifically, he expressed an interest in a response by federal law enforcement because he believed they had better quality firearms and body armor to steal. He made statements about tactical options for killing multiple targets and the disposal of their bodies. He reaffirmed his plan to ambush law enforcement, kill them, rob them of their weapons, and start an uprising.”

Ferguson conducted practice drills with an AR-15 and even made a distress call at the national park “to gauge response time by park rangers.”

“Ferguson believed four federal officers arrived and indicated that if that many officers respond to the real event, they would likely have to kill them all,” the bureau said. “The FBI was able to successfully monitor these meetings.”

Judge Postpones Ruling on DOJ’s Request to Drop Charges Against Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Hold up, Michael Flynn.

A federal judge on Tuesday postponed a ruling on the Justice Department’s request to drop the criminal case against Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said he will give outside parties an opportunity to weigh in on the Justice DEpartment’s request, The New York Times reports.

Attorney General William Barr has been widely criticized for intervening in the case against Flynn, whom Trump has been calling to be exonerated.

The judge has some authority to reject the Justice Department’s request.

Flynn’s attorney objected to the judge’s decision.

“This court has consistently — on twenty-four (24) previous occasions — summarily refused to permit any third party to inject themselves or their views into this case,” the attorneys said in a motion filed after the judge’s order. “Only the Department of Justice and the defense can be heard.”

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian diplomat and even cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

Nearly 2,000 former DOJ Employees Call on Barr to Resign for Moving to Drop Michael Flynn Case

AG William Barr in Detroit, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Nearly 2,000 former Justice Department employees on Monday urged Attorney General William Barr to resign in an open letter that says he “once against assaulted the rule of law” when he intervened in the case against Michael Flynn.

The decision to drop the prosecution of Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, was “extraordinarily rare, if not unprecedented.”

The letter, organized by the nonprofit Protect Democracy, also encourages Congress to censure Barr over “his repeated assaults on the rule of law in doing the President’s personal bidding rather than acting in the public interest.”

Ticklethewire.com was unable to immediately reach the Attorney General’s Office for comment Tuesday morning.

In February, Protect Democracy collected more than 2,600 signatures on a letter calling for Barr’s resignation for intervening in Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation.

On Sunday, Mary McCord, former career Justice Department official, said Attorney General William Barr twisted her words to argue that former national security adviser Michael Flynn should not be prosecuted for lying to the FBI.

Michael A. Christman Named Special Agent in Charge of Pittsburgh Field Office

Michael A. Christmas, special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh Field Office.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Michael A. Christman, who was deputy assistant director for the Criminal Justice Information Services Division in West Virginia, has been named special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh Field Office.

Christman’s career with the FBI began in February 1992, when he served on the Safe Streets Task Force in Salt Lake City that targets violent gangs and Mexican drug-trafficking organizations. In addition, he investigated violent crime and other criminal issues.

Christman joined the Cleveland Field Office in 1997 to serve on the Caribbean Gang Drug Task Force and on the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

In 2005, he was promoted to supervisory special agent at the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

In 2007, he began working at the Pittsburgh Field Office, targeting drugs, gangs and violent crime. In addition, he led the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force.

In 2014, Christman was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of Criminal, Intelligence, and Administrative Programs in Pittsburgh. In 2015, he headed Pittsburgh’s Cyber and Intelligence Programs.

Two years later, he was promoted to chief of a Cyber Operations section at headquarters, managing all of the bureau’s cyber-criminal investigations. He also chaired the International Cyber Crimes Working Group.

In 2018, Christman was named deputy assistant director of the Criminal Justice Information Services Division’s Operational Programs Branch, where he oversaw the Global Law Enforcement Support Section, National Threat Operations Section, and Resources Management Section.

Before joining the FBI, Christman worked for the prosecutor’s office in the city of Akron, Ohio. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Youngstown State University and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Akron.

Secret Service Agents Ordered to Wear Masks around President Trump

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Secret Service agents who are likely to come into close contact with President Trump have been ordered to wear masks.

ABC News reports that stricter measures have been put in place after two aides at the White House have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Any meetings the president goes to, people will maintain maximum social distancing measures,” one administration official told ABC News.

The Secret Service would not comment on the matter.

Trump is routinely observed not wearing a mask while coming into close contact with people.

There also were talks about separating Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, but it appears that will not happen and the pair will continue to attending meetings together.