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Archive for September, 2020

Trump, Angry over Wray’s Testimony about Russia And Antifa, Suggests He May Replace FBI Director

Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump lashed out at FBI Director Christopher Wray and even suggested he may consider replacing him after he testified about Russia meddling in the presidential election.

“I did not like his answers yesterday,” Trump told reporters Friday, referring to Wray’s testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee.

When asked if he may replace Wray, Trump responded, “We’re looking at a lot of different things.”

Wray told lawmakers that Russia continues to be “very active” in interfering with the election, primarily to “denigrate” Trump’s Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

“The intelligence community consensus is that Russia continues to try to influence our elections,” Wray said while testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee.

Trump suggested China was a bigger threat.

“The big problem is China,” Trump said. “And we can have others also, and I’m not excluding anybody, but the big problem is China. And why he doesn’t want to say that, that certainly bothers me.”

Trump also did not like how Wray characterized “antifa,” which the FBI director said is “more of an ideology or a movement than an organization.” Trump disagreed.

“Antifa is bad — really bad,” Trump said.

Trump has a history of butting heads with appointees who contradict his political rhetoric.

CBP Arrests Armed Woman Accused of Sending Ricin to President Trump

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

CBP officers on Sunday arrested a woman accused of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin to the White House.

The woman was arrested with a gun in her possession soon after crossing the Canadian Border in Buffalo, The Associated Press reports.

The suspect’s identity had not been disclosed as of Monday morning. She is expected to be charged Monday.

The letter, which was addressed to President Trump, was intercepted at a mail-screening facility and traced back to Canada, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which helped the FBI investigate.

Ricin, which is derived from castor beans and has no antidote, can be deadly if inhaled or ingested.

Weekend Series on Crime History: Congressional Mafia Hearings

Secret Service Spends $1.1M at President Trump’s Properties, Including Hotel That Was Closed

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service has dished out $1.1 million to stay at President Trump’s properties since he took office, The Washington Post reports.

The Secret Service was even charged $21,800 to rent a cottage and other rooms for staying at Trump’s Bedminster, N.J., club while it was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It wasn’t clear why the Secret Service was there, but Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump is believed to have stayed there at least once to celebrate Passover with her family.

The Washington Post reports:

When Trump and his family members visit Trump properties, aides and Secret Service agents follow. When those federal employees rent rooms, Trump’s businesses get the revenue. Taxpayers foot the bill.

The bills are usually paid in private, with no public disclosure. The government has not disclosed how much it has paid the Trump Organization in total. Instead, The Post has tried to create an accounting of these payments, one receipt at a time, using public-records requests and lawsuits

“The waste inherent in this is appalling,” Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president at the watchdog group Public Citizen, said of the Trump Organization’s charges.

Wray Warns of ‘Very Active’ Russian Campaign to Interfere with Presidential Election

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the House Homeland Security Committee.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray warned lawmakers Thursday that Russia continues to be “very active” in meddling with the presidential election, primarily to “denigrate” Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

“The intelligence community consensus is that Russia continues to try to influence our elections,” Wray said while testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee.

He added, “We certainly have seen very active, very active efforts by the Russians to influence our election in 2020 … to both sow divisiveness and discord and … to denigrate Vice President Biden.”

Wray said Russians are using social media and other types of propaganda to wage the misinformation campaign, but so far there is no evidence of hacking emails and election systems.

The FBI director’s testimony predictably drew criticism from President Trump, who has been largely silent on Russian interference.

But Chris, you don’t see any activity from China, even though it is a FAR greater threat than Russia, Russia, Russia,” Trump tweeted. “They will both, plus others, be able to interfere in our 2020 Election with our totally vulnerable Unsolicited (Counterfeit?) Ballot Scam.”

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf defied a subpoena to testify by failing to show up.

Watch Wray’s full testimony here.

Retired FBI Agent: There’s Likely to Be An Act of Domestic Terrorism Whether Trump Wins or Loses

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Retired FBI agent Thomas O’Connor, a 23-year veteran of the Washington, D.C., field office, is a specialist in domestic extremist groups who talks on Deadline TV about guns at political rallies, the changing ideology of militia groups and the possible unrest after Nov. 3 voting.

“I think unfortunately no matter who is elected, the opposite side has a strong enough radical base right now that there will be a reaction to the action of a person being elected,” O’Connor says. “One side or the other is likely to have people who are willing to step outside the legal bounds of protest and and do an act which actually fulfills the definition of domestic terrorism. And I hope I’m wrong. … I don’t think I’m going to be proven wrong.”

O’Connor left the bureau last September and now heads FEDSquaredConsulting, which trains people in government and the private sector about counterterrorism and extremist groups.

He talks with ticklethewire.com editor Allan Lengel, who is also editor of Deadline Detroit.

FBI Director Wray to Testify Before Congressional Committee, But Chad Wolf to Defy Subpoena to Attend

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying before the House Judiciary Committee.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray is scheduled to testify before a House committee on Thursday about homeland security threats.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who was subpoenaed to testify, said he does not plan to attend the hearing, The Washington Post reports.

The House Committee on Homeland Security hearing is expected to explore intelligence assessments, which likely will include interference in the presidential election. Senior federal officials warned last month that Russia is trying to undermine Joe Biden’s candidacy.

Officials have said they are increasing security to limit outside interference.

Barr Slams Career Prosecutors As ‘Headhunters,’ Compares Them to Preschoolers in Boisterous Speech

Attorney General William Barr, via Justice Department.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr lashed out at his own prosecutors on Wednesday, calling them “headhunters” in search of big name targets and equating them to preschoolers.

During the wide-ranging, boisterous speech at conservative Hillsdale College in Michigan, Barr also said nationwide coronavirus lockdowns would be the “greatest intrusion on civil liberties” outside of slavery, according to CNN.

“Individual prosecutors can sometimes become headhunters, consumed with taking down their target,” Barr said, The Associated Press reports. “Subjecting their decisions to review by detached supervisors ensures the involvement of dispassionate decision-makers in the process.”

Barr, who has been criticized for interfering in cases involving allies of President Trump, insisted he has the authority to intervene in such cases and that career prosecutors don’t always get the final say.

“Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it is no way to run a federal agency,” he said.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder blasted Barr’s criticism of career prosecutors.

“Though dangerous, Barr is becoming increasingly absurd. When I was at DOJ – regardless of my ultimate authority – I saw the career staff as trusted colleagues, not pre-schoolers,” Holder tweeted Wednesday. To my friends at DOJ, know that this nation values and supports you. I do.

Barr also castigated governors who have imposed restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history,” Barr said to thunderous applause.