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Senate Judiciary Committee to Subpoena 2 FBI Officials Over Comey’s Firing

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Sen. Chuck Grassley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate Judiciary Committee is preparing for a showdown with the Justice Department after it prevented two senior FBI officials from testifying on Capitol Hill about President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

The Senate legal counsel plans to subpoena the senior FBI officials – Carl Ghattas and James Rybicki – to force their testimony about Comey’s firing, CNN reports

The Justice Department last week said it was preventing the FBI officials from appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee because of the DOJ’s “long-standing policy regarding the confidentiality and sensitivity of information relating to pending matters.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., aren’t backing down.

“We’ve got subpoenas at the Senate counsel office,” Grassley told CNN Wednesday, referring to the Senate office that would draft the subpoenas. “When we get done there, I’m gonna have to consult with Sen. Feinstein.”

Eric J. Rommal Tapped to Serve As Special Agent in Charge of New Orleans Division

Eric Rommal, newly appointed FBI Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Division.

Eric Rommal, newly appointed FBI Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Division.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Eric J. Rommal, a 20-year veteran of the FBI, will begin serving as special agent in charge of the bureau’s New Orleans Division.

FBI Director Christopher Wray made the announcement Wednesday.

Rommal, who most recently served as deputy assistant director in the Directorate of Intelligence, began working for the FBI in 1997 and was assigned to the Atlanta Division, where he investigated violent crime, white-collar crime, cybercrime and health care fraud.

Rommal has served in leadership positions in the Counterterrorism Division and the Washington Field Office.

Rommal will begin working in his new role in November.

Donald Trump Squarely in Crosshairs of Special Counsel Investigation

President Trump, via White House

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is turning his attention to President Trump’s actions in office, including the termination of his national security advisor and FBI director.

The New York Times also reports Mueller is honing in on an Oval Office meeting between Trump and Russian officials after the president said dismissing Comey had relieved “great pressure” on him.” 

Mueller is asking the White House for documents related to some of Trump’s most scrutinized actions while in office.

The news indicates that Trump is now squarely in the crosshairs of the investigation.

Manafort Offered to Provide Briefings of Presidential Race to Russian Tied to Kremlin

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Paul Manafort, who served as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, is accused of offering to provide briefings on the presidential election to a Russian billionaire with close ties to the Kremlin, the Washington Post reports

People familiar with the discussions said Manafort made the offer in an email less than two weeks before Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination.

Manafort requested that his email be provided to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate who has past connections with Manafort.

“If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” Manafort wrote in the July 7, 2016, email.

Federal authorities have no evidence yet that Deripaska received the email or any briefings.

Lewandowski: If Anyone Colluded with Russia, They Should Be Jailed for Life

Corey Lewandowski

Corey Lewandowski

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s campaign team chairman, Corey Lewandowski, said if anyone colluded with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election, they should be jailed for life.

Lewandowski, speaking at George Washington University, said democracy is sacred and should not be tampered with by outsiders.

“I think if anybody, and I’ve said this, if Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, or Rick Gates or Carter Page, or anybody else attempted to influence the outcome of the U.S. election through any means that’s inappropriate – through collusion, coordination or cooperation – I hope they go to jail for the rest of their lives,” he said, according to the Washington Examiner.

But Lewandowski defended Trump.

 “Never ever ever ever did I hear him say, utter, insinuate anything to do with Russia,” he said.

Other Stories of Interest

Fugitive Chicago Cop Captured After 14 Years on the Run

Former Chicago cop Eddie C. Hicks was on the lam since 2003.

Former Chicago cop Eddie C. Hicks was on the lam since 2003.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Chicago police sergeant accused of using bogus search warrants to steal cash, drugs and guns was arrested 14 years after he went on the lam.

Eddie C. Hicks, who failed to show for his court hearing in June 2003, was arrested in Detroit and taken back to Chicago in federal custody, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. 

One of Hicks’ co-defendants, Lawrence Knitter, was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2005.

Federal authorities allege they busted Hicks and others on tape plotting to steal drugs from drug dealers. They are accused of posing as DEA Task Force officers while making traffic stops, and they forged search warrants to raid homes, apartments and hotel rooms.

Hicks, a 30-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, worked in the narcotics section between 1992 and 1997, when he is accused of stealing from drug dealers.

Manafort Calls on Justice Department to Investigate Leak of FBI Wiretaps

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is urging the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate who leaked to the media information about the FBI conducting several wiretap probes of him, Bloomberg reports.  

Manafort also is asking the Justice Department to release “any intercepts involving him and any non-Americans so interested parties can come to the same conclusion as the DOJ — there is nothing there,” Manafort’s spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement Tuesday.

Using leaked information, CNN reported Monday that two FISA court orders were obtained by the FBI to authorize wiretapping of Manafort before and after the presidential election.

Of the fact that no charges ever emerged,” Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement on Tuesday. The Justice Department’s inspector general “should immediately conduct an investigation into these leaks and to examine the motivations behind a previous administration’s effort to surveil a political opponent.” 

Former Football Star Charles Tillman Training to Become FBI Agent

Former football star Charles Tillman

Former football star Charles Tillman

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Bears cornerback Charles Tillman wants to become an FBI agents and recently began training to join the bureau, the Chicago Tribune reports

Tillman, 36, retired from football last year after being a member of the 15-1 Panthers team that made it to the Super Bowl in 2015.

FBI guidelines require prospective candidates to be between the ages of 23 and 37. Tillman turns 37 on Feb. 23.

Before the Bears drafted the cornerback in 2003, Tillman received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.