Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

May 2021
S M T W T F S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Orlando Shooter’s Father Was FBI Informant, But Judge Won’t Dismiss Case Against Widow

Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The discovery that the father of the man who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in 2016 was an FBI informant was an insufficient reason to reject the case against the widow of the mass shooter, a judge said Monday.

Lawyers for Noor Salman urged a judge to throw out the case because prosecutors withheld information that Omar Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, worked as a confidential FBI informant at various times between January 2005 and June 2016.

But U.S. District Judge Paul Byron rejected a motion to dismiss or declare a mistrial, saying Seddique Mateen’s role as a former informant “does not change the dynamic of whether Noor Salman aided and abetted,” NBC News reports

Salman is on trial on charges of aiding and abetting her husband’s June 2016 attack on Pulse, a popular gay club in Orlando, and obstructing law enforcement’s investigation by falsely denying her role in the attack, which was one of the deadliest mass shootings on U.S. soil.

Omar Mateen told police before he was killed that he shooting was done in the name of ISIS. 

FBI: Self-Help Leader Forced Female Clients into Sexual Slavery Cult

Nxivm founder Keith Raniere

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI is accusing the leader of a self-help group of forcing his female clients into a sexual slavery cult.

Keith Raniere, founder of Albany, N.Y.-based Nxivm, is expected to be charged in federal court Tuesday of sex trafficking, sex-trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy, UPI reports

Raniere’s group, which claims to “empower people and answer important questions about what it means to be human,” has operated for about 20 years and has centers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Central America.

“Keith Raniere created a secret society of women whom he had sex with and branded with his initials, coercing them with the threat of releasing their highly personal information and taking their assets,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney Jr. said Raniere “displayed a disgusting abuse of power in his efforts to denigrate and manipulate women he considered his sex slaves” and “allegedly participated in horrifying acts of branding and burning them, with the cooperation of other women operating within this unorthodox pyramid scheme.”

The organization, which gets most of its funding from the sisters who are the heiresses to the Seagrams family liquor fortune, charges up to $5,000 for a five-day workshop.

Ex-President Carter: Don’t Impeach Trump Even If He Committed Wrongdoing

President Jimmy Carter

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Even if special counsel Robert Mueller finds criminal wrongdoing by Donald Trump, the president should not be impeached, said former President Jimmy Carter.

“You know, I have confidence in the American system of government,” Carter told CBS’ Sunday Morning. “I think ultimately the restraints on a president from the Congress and from the Supreme Court will be adequate to protect our nation, if he serves a full term.”

The 39th president said he believes Trump will serve his full term unless Mueller  files charges against the president. But he added, Mueller should be more forthcoming if Trump is in legal trouble.

 “I think Mueller’s been very successful in keeping his cards close to his vest and not revealing any plans. But my wish is that Mr. Mueller would go ahead and make a decision, even if it’s not anything personally that President Trump has done to violate the law; then I think he ought to make that obvious. And if he has violated the law, that ought to be revealed as well.”

Carter, a Democrat, offered to help Trump and said he believes the president wanted to “do a good job.”

“But my own preference would be that he not be impeached, but that he be able to serve out his term, because I think he wants to do a good job. And I’m willing to help him, if I can help him, and give him the benefit of the doubt,” Carter said.

Congress Rejects Trump’s Plan to Dramatically Increase Agents to Combat Illegal Immigration

ICE official, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Congress rejected President Trump’s push for a significant increase in the number of federal law enforcement officers to combat illegal immigration.

Trump called for a dramatic increase in the number of ICE and Border Patrol agents, but Congress declined the funding, citing the agencies’ admission that it could not reach the hiring goals, Government Executive reports

The 2018 omnibus spending bill called for funding 1,000 new ICE agents, but Congress approved the hiring of just 65 additional agents

Congress also rejected Trump’s proposal to hire 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and provided funding for just 500 new agents.

“The budget request for new Border Patrol agents, in particular, was not supported by any analysis of workload and capability gaps across CBP that would be necessary to evaluate the benefits of the proposal as compared to other investments,” congressional appropriators stated.

Both agencies have been unable to meet lofty hiring goals because of recruiting problems.

Other Stories of Interest

Lengel: Whatever the Case, The Optics Stink When It Comes To The Firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testifies before Congress.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Was justice done with the last minute firing of ex-FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe?

I say no.

The public still isn’t clear about all the reasons behind it,  though the White House or some other people leaked a limited amount of damaging info. They said McCabe leaked information to the Wall Street Journal about the probe into Hillary Clinton and the family foundation,  then allegedly was guilty of  “lack of candor” when questioned about it. Lack of candor in the FBI is often an accusation that ends badly for the accused.

We don’t know much more.

Whatever the case, the optics stink.

McCabe had stepped aside in late January, before his March retirement date. He and FBI Director Christopher Wray and other top FBI officials knew the Inspector General’s report was in the works, and the final product wasn’t going to be favorable to McCabe or the bureau.

Ordinarily, McCabe stepping aside might have been enough to satisfy. But it was clear the White House wanted him beheaded, even if it meant doing so days before his official retirement and days before he would become eligible to collect a pension.

Did McCabe do something wrong? Officials obviously say yes. And in fact, that may be the case. We haven’t seen the report.

But McCabe says no, writing in an Op-ed piece in the Washington Post: “I did not knowingly mislead or lie to investigators….I answered questions as completely and accurately as I could. And when I realized that some of my answers were not fully accurate or may have been misunderstood, I took the initiative to correct them.”

Even if McCabe did wrong, the way this has all been handled is wrong.

Normally, under such circumstances, an agent or official accused of wrongdoing internally would be given weeks, if not months, to prepare a rebuttal to defend themselves.

That wasn’t done in this case. It was days — barely, just to make sure he didn’t cross the finish line with full pension in hand.

Director Wray insists everything is being done by the book in the bureau, and that politics was not involved in the decision involving McCabe.

Christopher Wray (File photo)

Let’s be frank.

First off, you don’t think there was pressure from President Donald Trump to have Attorney General Jeff Sessions fire McCabe? If Wray seriously doesn’t think that’s the case, perhaps we need a sharper FBI director.

Secondly, while Michael E. Horwowitz, the Justice Department’s Inspector General since 2012, enjoys a reputation in some circles as being totally impartial, not everyone agrees. Some privately say he’s very political and tries to tailor his reports to what some insiders in the Beltway want.

Then there’s Attorney General Sessions, who told Congress he would recuse himself of anything to do with the Clinton investigation. And here he is, firing McCabe for something tied to that probe.

Not everyone loved McCabe. Known as being sharp, intelligent and ambitious, some also thought he could be arrogant. I’m also told some agents were happy to see him get the ax. But he also had his fans.

Whatever the case, I have a suggestion.

People who think this mess was handled properly need to stand outside the Department of Justice at 950 Pennsylvania NW, look at the sign and take notice of the word “Justice.”

It’s not just a word. It really does mean something.

 

U.S. Investigators Discovered DNC Hacker Was a Russian Intelligence Operative

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The hacker Guccifer 2.0, who claimed responsibility for providing WikiLeaks with stolen e-mails from the Democratic National Committee, has been identified as a Russian intelligence operative, according to a new report.

Guccifer inadvertently revealed his identity after failing to disguise his IP address by activating a virtual private network – VPN, the Daily Beast reports

That enabled U.S. investigators to capture the Moscow IP address in the logs of a U.S. social media company and track down the hacker’s identity.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election has netted indictments against 13 Russians and three Russian companies, has taken over the Guccifer probe.

U.S. intelligence agency suspected Guccifer was a Russian military operation at least as early as January 2017.

Trump’s Legal Team Shrinks As Mueller Investigation inches Closer

President Trump at the White House, via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s team of lawyers continues to shrink as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation inches closer to the president.

Trump opted against hiring two lawyers whose appointments were announced less than a week ago.

“The president is disappointed that conflicts prevent Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing from joining the president’s special counsel legal team,” Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said in a statement to the New York Times. “However, those conflicts do not prevent them from assisting the president in other legal matters. The president looks forward to working with them.”

The conflict stems from Toensing’s representation of Mark Corallo, the former spokesman for Trump’s legal team who told investigators he believed Trump aide, Hope Hicks, may have been trying to hide evidence related to a secret meeting between a Russian lawyer and campaign aides, including Donald Trump Jr.

DiGenova and Toensing are married.

Also last week, Trump’s top lawyer in the special counsel probe, John Dowd, quit after the president ramped up his rhetoric against Mueller.

Trump denied reports over the weekend that he was having trouble finding attorneys willing to represent him.

“Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case…don’t believe the Fake News narrative that it is hard to find a lawyer who wants to take this on. Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted. Problem is that a new lawyer or law firm will take months to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more), which is unfair to our great country – and I am very happy with my existing team. Besides, there was NO COLLUSION with Russia, except by Crooked Hillary and the Dems!” Trump tweeted Sunday.

$130,000 Payment to Stormy Daniels May Have Violated Campaign Finance Laws

Stormy Daniels speaks out on “60 Minutes.”

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Hush money paid to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels may have amounted to an illegal campaign contribution to Donald Trump’s campaign, according to  Trevor Potter, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, previously acknowledged he used $130,000 of his own money to pay Daniels keep quiet about an alleged 2006 affair with Trump.

Potter told Anderson Cooper in a “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday that the payment may have violated campaign-finance laws. 

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Trump’s campaign and his time in office, could take up the issue.

“The payment of the money just creates an enormous legal mess for, I think, Trump, for Cohen and anyone else who was involved in this in the campaign,” Potter said.