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Ex-Trump Campaign Adviser Papadopoulos Considers Withdrawing Guilty Plea in Russia Probe

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos is strongly considering withdrawing his guilty plea after special counsel prosecutors recommended a six-month jail sentence, according to his wife Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos.

Papadopoulos struck a deal with prosecutors last year, pleading guilty to misleading FBI agents during the Russian election meddling investigation. In exchange for his cooperation, Robert Mueller’s team was going to recommend leniency.

But a six-month jail sentence is not what he was expecting.

His wife told ABC that “he will make his final decision” Tuesday.

“He needs a serious conversation with his attorney.”

On Monday, Papadopoulos tweeted, “Been a hell of a year. Decision.”

Mueller’s prosecutors recommended jail time because they said Papadopoulos “caused damage” to the investigation by misleading investigators.

In October, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with a professor, identified in news reports as Joseph Mifsud, who said he had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Why the Manafort Jury Likely Hasn’t Reached a Verdict Yet

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the verdict in the Paul Manafort trial, it may feel like the jury has taken a long time.

But according to experts, juries typically take days – even more than a week – to reach a verdict on cases as complex as this one.

In the Manafort case, the jury began its third day of deliberations Monday. Manafort is charged with 18 counts, including bank fraud, conspiracy, filing false income tax returns and failure to report foreign or financial assets.

The news site Vox interviewed eight lawyers about the deliberations, and each said there’s nothing unusual about the jury take several days to reach a verdict.

“Probably means nothing,” Shira Scheindlin, a former United States district judge in the Southern District of New York, told Vox. “Most juries are very meticulous. Bank fraud and tax fraud are complex statutes and involve unfamiliar concepts. They are not in the everyday experience of jurors.”

Defense attorneys’ suggestion that “the length of the deliberations  is a good sign for them is pure spin,” said Michael Bromwich, former Justice Department inspector general. “Indeed, quick verdicts in complex cases are frequently for the defendant.”

Harry Litman, former U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, said juries taking their jobs seriously and thus are methodical.

“The most likely thing it means is that they’re going through the charges, which are paper-driven and require confirmation methodically,” Litman said. “We know that’s happening, based on their questioning, and it’s the kind of the case that doing that would take three, four, five days anyway.”

How FBI Background Check Failed to Prevent Felon from Buying Gun That Injured 3 Officers

Marlin Mack

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Marlin Mack, a felon with an extensive rap sheet, passed an FBI background check to buy a gun that he used to shoot and kill a university graduate student and wound three Kansas City police officers.

So how was the 25-year-old able to pass the background check?

FBI Spokesman Stephen Fischer told Fox4 that Mack gave false information on his application to buy the gun.

“Mr. Mack provided false biographical information at the time of his firearm purchase. That information can only be verified at the point of sale,” Fischer said. “The false information was submitted to the FBI and searched through the national instant criminal background check system (NICS).  As the false information did not match a prohibited record, the request was cleared to proceed.”

But Fox4 discovered that the FBI still should have discovered that Mack had “a long list of felony convictions.”

For answers, reporters turned to retired FBI agent Michael Tabman, who routinely does background checks for his company, Spirit Asset Protection.

FOX4 gave him the exact information provided to the FBI and asked him to see what he could find.

Tabman entered the name Marlin Mack with the birthday Mack provided, 5-25-93, and Marlin James Mack Jr. popped up right away with a long list of felony convictions.

Although the middle name is not the same, Tabman said this should have at least triggered a three-day hold while the FBI investigated further.

When FOX4 asked Fischer about the information we uncovered, he replied, “We have no further comment at this time.”

Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah Blasts Fundraiser for Fired FBI Agent Peter Strzok

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah slammed fired FBI agent Peter Strzok for raising money on the fundraising site, GoFundMe, to help cover legal costs and “lost income.” 

The Daily Show host suggested Friday that the fundraiser for Strzok, who was fired over anti-Trump text messages, was capitalizing on hatred for the president on a site that raises money for cancer patients.

“Because seriously, half a million dollars on a GoFundMe just for hating Donald Trump!” Noah said. “There are cancer patients on that site that are like, ‘Hey, we hate him, too. Can you help pay for my treatment?’ ” 

The comedian also criticized the fundraiser for increasing the  goal from $150,000 to $350,000 to then $500,000.

“Okay, first up, this is some bullshit we need to address about GoFundMes in general,” Noah said. “How do people say, ‘This is the amount I need,’ and then change the amount when they get it?”

A similar outpouring of support happened in April after FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired just two days before he was eligible to retire with full benefits. More than $500,ooo was raised, more than tripling the fundraising goal.

Trump Calls Special Counsel Team ‘Thugs’ Who Are ‘Looking for Trouble’

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump continued to lash out this morning about a New York York Times story that revealed his White House counsel, Don McGahn, has been cooperating with the special counsel team investigating potential collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign. 

In a series of increasingly “incendiary tweets, Trump suggested special counsel Robert Mueller is “looking for trouble” for spending more than 30 hours interviewing McGahn.

“Anybody needing that much time when they know there is no Russia Collusion is just someone looking for trouble,” Trump tweeted. “They are enjoying ruining people’s lives and REFUSE to look at the real corruption on the Democrat side – the lies, the firings, the deleted Emails and soooo much more!”

Trump called Mueller’s team “thugs” and a “National Disgrace.”

The Times reported Sunday that McGahan provided new “detailed accounts” that may help Mueller’s team determine whether Trump obstructed justice.

On Sunday, Trump called the authors of the Times piece “two fake reporters” who falsely claimed the White House counsel “TURNED on the President.”

“This is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People. So bad for America!”

Trump’s Ex-Attorney Cohen May Be Charged with Fraud by End of Month

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors who are investigating President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen for bank and tax fraud are considering filing charges by the end of the month.

The New York Times revealed Sunday that investigators “have have zeroed in on well over $20 million in loans obtained by taxi businesses that he and his family own,” citing people familiar with the probe. 

Prosecutors also are investigating whether Cohen violated campaign finance laws when he arranged hush money for women who said they had affairs with Trump.

The FBI raided Cohen’s office, hotel room and home in April, provoking outrage from the president, who called the searches an “attack on the country.”

Trump and his lawyers fear Cohen could strike a plea deal with prosecutors in exchange for information on Trump.

Update: Fundraiser for FBI Agent Strozk Fired Over Anti-Trump Texts Smashes Goal in Less Than a Day

Peter Strzok, via EPA.

Update: Sunday, 11:44 p.m.The GoFundMe page for fired FBI agent Peter Stzrok has now raised $439,455 in six days. The goal was raised from $350,000 to $500,000.

———————————————————-

Report From Last Week

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Peter Stzrok, the FBI agent who was ousted for sending anti-Trump text messages during the presidential campaign, has plenty of supporters.

Just take a look at the $235,000 that was raised just 21 hours after the GoFundMe page was created by an anonymous organizer, listed as“Friends of Special Agent Peter Strzok,” on the day news broke that the 22-year veteran had been fired over the recommendations that he be demoted and suspended for 60 days.  

In less than 12 hours, the original goal of raising $150,000 for his future legal bills was exceeded by thousands of donors. The goal was then raised to $350,000.

A similar outpouring of support happened in April after FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired just two days before he was eligible to retire with full benefits. More than $500,ooo was raised, more than tripling the fundraising goal.

Strzok’s attorney, Aitan Goelman, slammed the decision of FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowditch, who overruled an internal disciplinary review that had recommended Strzok a demotion and suspension.

The GoFundMe account begins:

Peter Strzok, a man who has spent his entire life working to help keep us and our nation safe, has been fired.  He needs your help.

For the last year, Pete, his work, and his character have been the target of highly politicized attacks, including frequent slanderous statements from President Trump, who actively—and apparently successfully—pressured FBI officials to fire Pete. 

All funds raised on this GoFundMe will be put into a trust dedicated to covering Pete’s hefty – and growing – legal costs and his lost income. The trust is being created and details about its management will be shared here as things progress. We also appreciate your help spreading the word about this GoFundMe by sharing this link: www.gofundme.com/peterstrzok

Peter Strzok is a proud husband and father, a veteran of the U.S. Army and counterintelligence Special Agent who spent more than two decades in a job he loved at the FBI. 

Pete handled some of the agency’s most important cases, thwarting numerous attacks by foreign and domestic adversaries while being consistently promoted and frequently recognized for his skillful and independent work. In describing his 21 years at the FBI, The New York Times said, “He rose quickly through its ranks, earning a reputation within the bureau as one of its most savvy and reliable counterintelligence agents.”

But last week, in a decision apparently driven by political pressure, a senior FBI official chose to fire Pete — overruling the agency’s normal and independent process by rejecting the decision of the career professionals in the FBI’s disciplinary division. This has left him without income and facing considerable legal bills.

Weekend Series on Law Enforcement History: Clinton Fires FBI Director