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Former Trump Campaign Boss Manafort Denies Lying to Robert Mueller’s Team

Paul Manafort’s mugshot

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Lawyers for Paul Manafort, the convicted former campaign boss for President Trump, claimed Wednesday that Robert Mueller’s prosecutors have unfairly accused him of lying to them after he entered a plea deal.

Mueller’s team has alleged Manafort breached his plea agreement by lying to prosecutors about his contacts with Trump administration officials and his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, who has alleged ties to Russian intelligence.

Manafort’s attorneys argued in a court filing that Mueller failed to show that Manafort “intentionally provided false information.”

Manafort, 69, has been in solitary confinement and faces sentencing in two different cases.

Trial Begins for DEA Agent Accused of Leading Corrupt Drug Task Force

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A federal corruption trial began Tuesday for a former DEA agent charged with 10 criminal counts, from perjury to falsifying government records, as part of a sprawling investigation of a New Orleans-based task force.

Chad Scott, who led the task force, “betrayed his duties and abused his power by lying, cheating and manipulating so he could get what he wanted,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Duree told the jury during opening arguments, NOLA.com reports.

The task force is accused of dealing drugs, shaking down suspects and pocketing cash during raids.

Duree told the jury that Scott even “got a dope dealer to buy him a truck.”

Two members of the task force have pleaded guilty and are expected to testify against the longtime former agent during the trial.

As a result of the investigation, some drug cases were dropped or overturned.

In all, Scott was charged with 10 criminal counts, including obstruction of justice and conspiracy.

Scott faces a second trial in October on four more charges, including conspiracy and stealing property.

FBI Details How Shutdown Is Impeding Investigations of Terrorism, Violent Crime, Child Trafficking

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The government shutdown is hindering the FBI’s investigations of terrorism, child trafficking and violent crimes, according to a report issued Tuesday by a group representing the bureau’s 13,000 special agents.

The 72-page report, Voices from the Field, describes how agents are being hampered by a shutdown that has no end in sight.

The spending freeze has left the bureau with no money for confidential informants, witnesses at criminal trials, translators, paralegals and other support staff. Agents also are working without pay.

“The shutdown has eliminated any ability to operate,” an unnamed agent who works on counterintelligence investigations said in the report. “The fear is our enemies know they can run freely.”

Another unnamed agent said the bureau has been unable to help crack down on violent gangs.

“I currently investigate a particularly violent street gang,” an agent from the FBI’s central region said in the report. “I have had to tell our local law enforcement partners that I cannot assist in funding these operations because my field office does not have money. This means that the one chance we may have to take down several violent individuals may pass us by and we may not get the chance again.”

Without money for confidential informants, agents are at risk of “losing them and the information they provide forever,” an agent said in the report.

“It’s not a switch that we can turn on and off.”

Former DEA Special Agent Found Dead in Jail After Domestic Violence Arrest

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former assistant special agent in charge of the DEA’s St. Louis division has been found dead in jail a day after he was arrested on allegations of domestic violence.

Larry “Jay” Reavis, 51, was shaking in a cell in the St. Louis County Jail about 8:30 a.m. Friday. A little more than an hour later, he was pronounced dead, St. Louis Post Dispatch reports.

Sources said Reavis may have been experiencing alcohol withdrawal and that there were no signs of trauma or a suicide.

Police were called to the jail for a medical call at 9:41 a.m. Friday.

Jail officials declined further comment and are expected to provide more details this week.

Senator Urges FBI to Launch Perjury Investigation into Homeland Security Secretary

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley is asking the FBI to investigate whether Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen committed perjury over border rhetoric.

“I am just sick and tired of this administration lying to the American people, lying to Congress, doing it under oath,” the senator from Oregon told CNN‘s John Berman on “New Day.” 

A draft memo released last week contradicted claims by the Trump administration that it had no policy to separate families apprehended at the border. Just last month, Nielsen doubled down on that claim while testifying before Congress.

“I write to request an investigation to determine whether Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen committed perjury during her sworn testimony before the House Committee on the Judiciary on December 20, 2018,” Merkley wrote in his request to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Compelling new evidence has emerged revealing that high-level Department of Homeland Security officials were secretly and actively developing a new policy and legal framework for separating families as far back as December 2017.”

Merkley said he hasn’t heard back from the FBI yet, adding, “This is the official, right way to initiate referral to the FBI for pursuit of an investigation regarding perjury.

In a written statement, a DHS spokeswoman told CNN the agency “has never had a blanket policy of separating families in custody.

“What this pre-decisional, pre-deliberative memo – as well as previously leaked pre-decisional, pre-deliberative documents – shows is that the Secretary was provided a menu of options to prevent the humanitarian crisis we predicted at that time and which has manifested itself today,” the statement read. “Secretary Nielsen specifically rejected a policy proposal to separate all family units in DHS custody.”

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Watergate Hearings

Government Shutdown Is Stymying Investigations by Federal Agents And Lowering Morale

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, DEA, ATF and Customs and Border Protection are finding that the government shutdown is stymying ongoing investigations.

Many law enforcement officials are being denied travel and money to pay informants involving investigations because there is a lack of available cash, The Washington Post reports.

“The lack of funding is impacting agents’ ability to travel to forward their cases,” said Thomas O’Connor, president of the FBI Agents Association. “As we go forward, those funds are not going to be available and in some cases are not available now.”

Low morale also is a factor. Federal law enforcement employees are considered essential and must work without a paycheck. The stress of financial problems at home can affect their work performance, law enforcement officials said.

“My biggest concern is there’s going to be an agent who is not going to be focused on his job,” Nathan Catura, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said. “He’s going to be out on the street doing some enforcement of something, and he’s going to get hurt. Heaven forbid there’s an agent who gets killed because his mind isn’t on the job.”

Catura added: “Other law enforcement people I continue to speak to, they share the same concerns. The longer this drags out, the more I’m concerned that something’s going to happen.”

Updated: Trump Directed Cohen to Obstruct Probe by Lying to Congress about Trump Tower in Russia

Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Trump.

Update: 1:11 p.m. Saturday — The Office of the Special Counsel disputed the BuzzFeed report, and issued the following statement:

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate,” said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller.

BuzzFeed responded by saying that it stands by its story and asked the Office of Special Counsel to clarify what in its report is inaccurate.

_________________________

Report from Friday.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump told his long-time attorney and fixer Michael Cohen lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to a bombshell report by BuzzFeed.

If true, Trump and his attorneys would have a hard time arguing the president didn’t attempt to obstruct justice.

But it gets worse for Trump. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has learned that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress “through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents,” BuzzFeed reports, citing two federal law enforcement sources involved in the investigation of what happened during and after the 2016 presidential election.    

It’s likely the most damning public finding yet against the president, who continues to insist the Mueller investigation is a “witch hunt.”

While Trump repeatedly told the public he had no business projects in Russia, he supported a plan for Cohen to visit the country during the presidential campaign and even personally meet with President Putin to get the Trump Tower moving, according to the sources.

“Make it happen,” Trump allegedly told Cohen.

According to BuzzFeed sources, Cohen received help preparing his testimony from attorneys close to the administration. Whether the attorneys knew Cohen planned to lie wasn’t not immediately clear.

After his testimony, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress.