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Violent Felon Who Shot Student And 3 Cops Used Gun Purchased After Passing FBI Background Check

Marlin Mack

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Marlin Mack, a 25-year-old convicted felon with an extensive rap sheet, legally purchased a gun after passing an FBI background check and then used the weapon to shoot and kill a university graduate student and wound three Kansas City police officers in July.

Mack, who was killed in a gun fight with police, managed to legally purchase the gun despite being a convicted felon with a violent past that includes using a high-powered pistol to rob a woman at gunpoint and then trying to kill the man who called police.

How Mack was able to purchase a gun remains a mystery.

Neither the FBI nor the ATF has returned media inquiries.

Jury to Deliberate on Fate of Manafort After Closing Arguments Today in 10-Day Trial

Paul Manafort

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s lawyers rested their case in the two-week fraud trial, presenting no evidence and calling no witnesses Tuesday.

Today, both sides will deliver closing arguments that summarize the 10 days of testimony in the first trial stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia.

This jacket was among many pieces of clothing used to show Manafort’s lavish lifestyle.

Then, the fate of the 69-year-old Republican operative will land in the hands of a jury, who will determine whether Manafort is guilty of bank and tax fraud. A conviction could send him to prison for the rest of his life.

During closing arguments, prosecutors will try to convince the jury that Manafort hid millions of dollars he made lobbying for a pro-Russian Ukrainian party in foreign bank accounts to avoid paying taxes. They’ll also point to evidence that he received millions of dollars in loans by hiding his true income after he lost his consulting job.

The prosecution said Manafort was motivated by financing an extravagant lifestyle that included lavish clothes and six homes.

His defense team likely will place blame on people who testified against Manafort and admitted wrongdoing, including his former business partner Rick Gates.

No matter what verdict the jury hands down, Manafort’s troubles are far from over. He faces a second criminal trial in a case that alleges lobbying crimes and money laundering.

Manafort has refused to reach a plea agreement with prosecutors in exchange for more information that could reveal more about Trump and his campaign’s role in working with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election.

A lot is at stake for Mueller, who continues to be attacked by Trump as heading a politically connected “witch hunt.” The lack of a conviction during Mueller’s first trial would surely be used by Trump to continue to undermine the special counsel, the FBI and Justice Department.

But a conviction would give the president less ammunition to continue undermining the credibility of the investigation, which began in May 2017 after he fired then-FBI Director James Comey.

Amy Hess, Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Louisville Division, Gets Promoted to Headquarters

FBI Special Agent Amy Hess has been promoted to executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch at the bureau’s headquarters.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Amy Hess, who served as special agent in charge of the FBI’s Louisville Division for the past two years, is taking a job at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C., making her one of the highest-ranking women in the bureau.

Hess will serve as executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch, overseeing the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, Critical Incident Response Group, Cyber Division, International Operations Division and Victim Services Division, the bureau wrote in a news release.

Hess joined the bureau in 1991, joining the Kansas City field office. From there, she served a variety of important roles, from assistant special agent in charge of the Phoenix Field Office and on-scene commander of the FBI’s counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan to chief of staff in the National Security Branch to special agent charge of the Memphis Field office.

The FBI has yet to name Hess’ replacement.

Congressman Goodlatte’s Son Lambasts Father over Strzok Firing, Says He’s ‘Deeply Embarrassed’

Rep. Bob Goodlatte

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The son of an influential Republican congressman excoriated his father after news broke about the FBI’s firing of Peter Stzrok, the veteran agent who had played a central role in the investigation of Russia.

Bobby Goodlatte tweeted that he was “deeply embarrassed” that “Strzok’s career was ruined by” Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s “political grandstanding.”

During a congressional hearing, the 13-term congressman took Strzok to task over  disparaging text messages that the FBI agent wrote about Trump during the election.

The younger Goodlatte on Sunday also began raising money for the Democrat who’s running in his father’s congressional district. Goodlatte is retiring.

Manafort to Kusher: Trump ‘Should’ Hire Banker Who Approved Suspicious $16M Loan

Ex-Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort emailed the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner weeks after the 2016 election in an attempt to secure a top job for a Chicago banker who is at the center of Manafort’s fraud trial.

Manafort wrote that Stephen Calk, chief executive officer of the Federal Savings Bank, “should be part of the Trump Administration” and that Calk’s “preference” was to be secretary of the Army.

Kushner, who played an integral role during the transition, responded in no time.

“On it!” Kushner responded to the Nov. 30, 2016 email.

Read the email here.

Calk approved $16 million in loans to Manafort, even though the bank was warned earlier that Manafort had falsely overstated his finances. 

Calk was active supporter of campaign since April,” Manafort wrote in the email. “HE served on the National Economic Policy Advisory Committee for Trump campaign and has made over 40 television interviews during the course of the General Election. His background is strong in defense issues, management and finance. His preference is Secretary of the Army.”

Manafort listed “alternative positions” for Calk: Undersecretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance, Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs and Deputy Secretary of Commerce.

Calk never got the job.

A week after the election, Calk pitched himself for the job in a memo entitled,  “Qualification Memorandum on Behalf of Stephen M. Calk Articulating His Qualifications to Serve as the 22nd Secretary of the Army.”

“Mr. Calk willingly risked his national professional and personal reputation as an active, vocal, early supporter of President-Elect Trump,” Calk wrote in the memo.

Prosecutors rested their case this week against Manafort, who could spend the rest of his life in prison if he’s found guilty of numerous bank and tax fraud charges.

Venezuelan President Who Accuses U.S. of Overthrow Attempts Seeks Help from FBI

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Venezuelan president who routinely suspects the U.S. is trying to overthrow him is now turning to America – more specifically, the FBI – for help investigating an assassination attempt.

President Nicolás Maduro said he believes the suspects led to Floria, Peru and Columbia, BBC reports

The U.S. said it would cooperate but has yet to indicate whether the FBI would pay a visit with a country that has a tense relationship.

The U.S. increased sanctions on Venezuela after accusing the country of rigging the  presidential election so Maduro would win a second term.

On Saturday, the president shocked many by saying he would work with the U.S. if it agreed to help track down the would-be assassins.

“If the US government offered, or confirmed its offer, of FBI cooperation to investigate, I would accept it,” he said.

Maduro alleges the mastermind behind the attack came from “terrorist” cells in Florida.

Two drones laden with explosives detonated near where the president was delivering a speech on Aug. 4.

The president was unscathed, but seven soldiers were injured.

Oregon Jury Acquits FBI Agent of Lying About Firing Weapon in Death of Robert ‘LaVoy’ Finicum

Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was shot and killed by police during the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors took a big hit on Friday in a Portland, Ore., courtroom.

A federal jury found FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita not guilty after about six hours of deliberations over two days. He was accused of lying to conceal that he fired two shots at the truck of refuge occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum in January 2016.

Astarita, 41, a member of the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team, looked straight ahead but squeezed the hands of defense lawyers Robert Cary and Meghan Ferguson sitting on either side of him as the court clerk read the verdicts about 2:45 p.m., according to a report in The Oregonian newspaper.

Once the jury left, the attorneys hugged Astarita.

A 37-year-old married father of two from a Portland suburb who sat the jury told Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian:

“I feel it’s possible someone is lying. I don’t know which side, or who, or it could be both. There’s still two unattributed shots, and I feel like we’re never going to know for sure who took them.”

He also said he “felt like a pendulum going back and forth during the trial — from ‘oh man, he definitely did it’ and then ‘well, maybe, he didn’t.”’

 

FBI Fires Strzok over Anti-Trump Texts During 2016 Election

Peter Strzok testifying on The Hill.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI has fired Peter Strzok for sending anti-Trump text messages to his lover during the presidential campaign.

Strzok attorney Aitan Goelman confirmed FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowditch ordered the termination Friday, overruling an internal disciplinary review that had recommended Strzok be demoted and suspended for 60 days.

“The decision to fire Special Agent Strzok is not only a departure from typical Bureau practice, but also contradicts Director Wray’s testimony to Congress and his assurances that the FBI intended to follow its regular process in this and all personnel matters,” Goelman said, according to Politico.

The FBI declined numerous news agencies’ requests for a comment.

Strzok, a 22-year veteran of the bureau, was among the lead investigators of Russian interference during the 2016 election until the anti-Trump text messages were discovered by a Justice Department inspector general.

Special counsel Robert Mueller immediately removed Strzok from the team investigating Russia.

The politically charged texts were amplified by the president and his supporters as evidence that the investigation into Trump and his campaign was biased.

The texts were sent to an FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, who also was part of Mueller’s team.

Page and Strzok were having an affair, and Trump called the pair “FBI lovers.”