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Acting Homeland Security Secretary McAleenan Expresses Frustration with Trump Administration

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan has spoken out about his department’s increasingly controversial policies that is turning the department into a partisan tool for the president.

In a candid interview with The Washington Post, McAleenan said the family separations at the border were “well intended” but “went too far.”

“When you see the impact in the six-week period on 2,500-or-so families and understand the emotional pain for those children, it’s not worth it,” McAleenan, who is six months into his role, told The Washington Post. “It’s the one part of this whole thing that I couldn’t ever be part of again.”

McAleenan said he’s losing control of the rhetoric coming from a department that is supposed to be a neutral law enforcement agency.

“What I don’t have control over is the tone, the message, the public face and approach of the department in an increasingly polarized time,” he said. “That’s uncomfortable, as the accountable, senior figure.”

Trump has yet to nominate McAleenan to the full-time DHS secretary position.

White House officials would not discuss why he hasn’t been nominated, nor would they respond to his frustrations.

“Secretary McAleenan is doing a fantastic job implementing the president’s plan to secure the southern border, build the wall, halt illegal immigration and stop the dangerous practice of catch-and-release,” deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said. “Thanks to the changes President Trump’s administration has put in place, now, if you try to violate our borders, you will be turned around and sent back to where you came from.”

Former FBI Director Returns to WilmerHale After Serving as Special Counsel in Russia Probe

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Robert Mueller, the former special counsel who investigated Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign, is rejoining the law firm WilmerHale.

Mueller was a partner at the firm since 2014, but stepped down in May 2017 while he began investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 special election.

Mueller will return to focusing on high-profile investigations and crisis management.

“We couldn’t be happier to have Bob, our extraordinary friend and colleague, return to WilmerHale,” Robert Novick, the firm’s co-managing partner, said in a news release. “Few lawyers have been entrusted with as many matters of national significance as Bob, in both his public service and in private practice. Bob embodies the highest values of our firm and profession. We’re privileged to work alongside him once again.”

Mueller said he’s happy to be back.

“I’m glad to be at WilmerHale once again, a firm with a tradition of honoring public service,” Mueller said. “It was an honor to serve as special counsel. Now, I look forward to resuming my private practice alongside the talented lawyers at the firm.”

Mueller served as FBI director for 12 years under two presidents. He began leading the fBI just one week before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Conservative Republicans Hold Up Trump’s Pick to Lead ATF

Chuck Canterbury

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s pick to lead the ATF has hit a roadblock.

The Senate Judiciary Committee last week voted to delay the nomination of Chuck Canterbury over concerns from conservative Republicans and gun rights groups,

Their concern is that Canterbury’s position on the Second Amendment is not solid enough, CNN reports.

During last weeks hearing, Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana accused Canterbury of being “evasive” about his personal views on the Second Amendment.

“I don’t personally support any more restrictions than are currently in the law,” Canterbury eventually responded.

Trump, Barr Spoke to Foreign Officials over Origins of Special Counsel Probe

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump and Attorney General William Barr reached out to foreign officials as part of an investigation into the origins of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, several news outlets reported.

Trump spoke to Australian officials, while Barr had contacted British and Italian authorities, The Washington Post first reported.

The Justice Department confirmed to Reuters that Trump had reached out to foreign countries to introduce Barr and another Justice Department official assisting in the inquiry.

Trump has called on the investigation to back up his insistence that the origin of the special counsel probe was motivated by political rivals with no substantive evidence of wrongdoing.

The new information is certain to be used by House Democrats in their impeachment inquiry. It also raises questions about whether Trump is using his contacts for personal gain.

Eyes in the Sky: How CBP Combats Drug Smuggling with Blimps

A CBP blimp, via Donna Burton of CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Blimps hovering 10,000 feet above the U.S. border are helping combat drug smuggling operations.

Customs and Border Protection is using eight unmanned, unarmed blimps as eyes in the sky as part of the agency’s Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS).

“TARS is the most cost-efficient capability that we own,” Richard Booth, director of domain operations and integration for CBP’s Office of Air and Marine, says on CBP’s website. “TARS is like a low-flying satellite system, but cheaper to launch and operate.”

The blimps “fly like kites in the wind,” said Rob Brown, CBP program manager for TARS.

“Raising radar and other sensors to high altitude boosts surveillance range, and the physical sight of an aerostat is a visual deterrent to illegal activity in the air and on the ground,” Brown said.

Drug smugglers often fly low to avoid ground-based radar, but they can’t evade the blimps’ radar.

Father Recalls Horrifying Encounter with FBI Agent: ‘I Just Want Some Justice’

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent is accused of chasing a teenager inside his home in California and pointing a gun at him over a prank – and the agent has yet to face trial nearly two years later.

“If this had happened to me, this thing would have been over and two months later, I’d be in prison,” father Chris Perry told CBS13. “I have more flashbacks and whacked out visions of it all the time.”

The horrifying incident happened in December 2017, when the boy was celebrating his 14th birthday. He and a friend decided to knock over an inflatable snowman on the FBI’s agent yard in Roseville.

The FBI agent, Michael Corrigan, is accused of chasing the teen to his home and then pointing a gun at him.

“I fly out of bed and I turn the corner and there’s a dude in my house, two feet inside my house pointing a gun at my son and his friend, and I just flipped and tackled him out the door. It was just panic,” Perry said.

Last year, the agent was charged with a felony. But after all this time, the case has still not gone to trial.

“It’s been two years. I just want some justice with it,” Perry said.

The FBI declined to comment on the case and whether the agent has been disciplined.

Defense attorney Bill Portonova responded in a written statement: “Special agent Michael Corrigan is an honorable family man with an exemplary career in law enforcement and he has full faith that these unfortunate proceedings will achieve a just end.”

On Friday, Corrigan was in court for a status conference, but no date has been scheduled yet for a trial.

Weekend Series on Crime History: Mob Bust of Genovese Crime Family

Serious Questions Raised about DOJ and AG Barr’s Handling of Whistleblower Complaint

Attorney General William Barr.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Department of Justice’s handling of the whistleblower complaint involving Ukraine raises a serious question: Why did the DOJ decide not to forward the complaint to Congress?

The complaint was serious enough to spur an impeachment inquiry. It alleges Trump tried to pressure a foreign nation to investigate his political opponent.

The whistleblower also implicates Attorney General William Bar for allegedly helping Trump dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.

Democrats are accusing Trump of using the Justice Department to help interfere in the election.

It also has become clear that Barr’s DOJ has stymied the investigation.

As the impeachment inquiry continues, much more will be known about Barr’s involvement.