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Trump’s Pick for FBI Director to Face Tough Questions During Confirmation Hearing Today

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee for FBI director, Christopher A. Wray, will face a host of challenging questions Wednesday morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing.

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

And the timing couldn’t be worst.

Wray’s testimony comes in the thick of an increasingly evolving investigation by the Justice Department and congressional members into whether Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia in an attempt to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning.

Adding pressure to that investigation is the recent revelation that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer who the president’s son was told wanted to hurt Clinton’s chances of winning.

Senators are expected to grill Wray, a former federal prosecutor in President George Bush’s administration, about his opinions of the investigation.

Since Trump admitted in a TV interview that he fired then-FBI Director James Comey over what the president called a “witch hunt” to destroy his political career, senators also are expected to question how Wray plans to deal with Trump’s interference in federal investigations.

The 50-year-old nominee, who spent years as a high-powered defense lawyer who represented Trump loyalist and New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie.

Veterans law enforcement officials who have worked with Wray described him as an objective, fair legal mind who isn’t easily influenced by political pressure.

Decade-Plus Search for New FBI Headquarters Is Canceled

The FBI's current headquarters in Washington D.C.

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A new FBI headquarters that has been in the works for more than 10 years has been scrapped, leaving agents and employees with no immediate solution to abandoning the crumbling, antiquated J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Among the stubborn snags has been Congress’ failure to provide enough money for a new building in the Washington suburbs. Under the plan, the FBI would trade the J. Edgar Hoover Building for space to build a new headquarters in the suburbs. The total cost to taxpayers was $2 billion.

Another roadblock was the lack of consistent leadership at the FBI and General Services Administration, which plans to announce the cancelation to bidders and in meetings on Capitol Hill this morning, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The 2.8-million-square-foot Hoover Building, which was dedicated in 1975, has been a constant source of frustration for agents and employees who also worry whether the deplorable conditions could cause security issues.

FBI: U.S. Soldier Who Pledged Allegiance to ISIS Planned to Kill ‘a Bunch of People’

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Hawaii-based active duty soldier told undercover FBI agents that he wanted to “kill a bunch of people” after he had pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

Ikaika Kang, a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army, was arrested Saturday and appeared in court Monday on terrorism charges, the Associated Press reports. 

Kang allegedly helped buy a drone with the intent of using it against American forces. He also is accused of saying he would to shoot “a bunch of people” with a rifle.

Kang thought he was meeting with Islamic State loyalists, but he was actually communicating with undercover agents.

Paul Delacourt, the FBI special agent in charge of the Hawaii bureau, said Kang was a lone wolf.

Smoking Gun Email Shows Trump Jr. Knew Russia Was Helping Get Dad Elected

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A damning email obtained by federal investigators revealed that Donald Trump Jr. was informed that the Russian government had compromising information about Hillary Clinton that was intended sabotage her election chances.

The email, reviewed by the New York Times, contradicts Trump Jr.’s original assertions that he was meeting with a Russian lawyer to talk about adoptions. 

This paragraph is particularly damaging to the president’s son.:

“Before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email.”

The e-mail could play a key role in the ongoing probe by the Justice Department and congressional investigators, who are trying to determine whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the presidential election.

Trump Jr.’s lawyer insisted his client did nothing wrong and will cooperate with investigators.

“In my view, this is much ado about nothing. During this busy period, Robert Goldstone contacted Don Jr. in an email and suggested that people had information concerning alleged wrongdoing by Democratic Party front-runner, Hillary Clinton, in her dealings with Russia,” he told The Times in an email on Monday. “Don Jr.’s takeaway from this communication was that someone had information potentially helpful to the campaign and it was coming from someone he knew. Don Jr. had no knowledge as to what specific information, if any, would be discussed.”

FBI’s Search for 4 Missing Pennsylvania Men Leads to an Arrest

Cosmo DiNardo, 20.

Cosmo DiNardo, 20.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s search for four missing Pennsylvania men helped lead to the arrest of a 20-year-old man connected to the case.

Cosmo DiNardo, of Bensalem, Pa., was arrested Monday and lodged in jail on $1 million bond on a gun charge, according to the Associated Press. 

The FBI, who has not identified DiNardo as a suspect in the men’s disappearance, found the 20-year-old in possession of a shotgun and ammunition, despite a history of mental illness and an involuntary commitment.

The FBI searched for signs of the missing men using heavy equipment at a large property owned by DiNardo’s family.

“The leads are incredibly hot, they’re very fruitful. We’re making great progress, but there’s so much more work to do,” Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said. “We’re not going to rest until we get through every inch of that property.”

The FBI was searching the property because of tips.

One of the men went missing Wednesday, and three others vanished Friday.

Investigators suspect foul play.

“I surely believe there is,” Weintraub said.

Woman Facing Up to Year in Prison for Laughing at AG Jeff Sessions

Activist Desiree Fairooz was convicted of disorderly conduct.

Activist Desiree Fairooz was convicted of disorderly conduct.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is calling for prison time for a woman who laughed during Jeff Session’s confirmation hearing when a Republican senator from Alabama suggested that the attorney general nominee has a record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well documented,” The Independent reports. 

Activist Desiree Fairooz was arrested, charged and convicted by a jury of “disorderly conduct or disruptive conduct.”

Two activists who showed up at the hearing wearing KKK outfits were also charged with disorderly conduct.

The jury did not buy the suggestion of Fairooz’s attorney that the laugh was a “brief reflexive burst of noise.”

The Justice Department countered that the jury “could reasonably infer that the laugh was a deliberate disruption.”   

“The jury could infer from testimony and video evidence about the laugh and Fairooz’s subsequent conduct that her laugh was an intentional, loud statement of disagreement,” prosecutors said in the filing.

“The jury could have considered that upon being removed, Fairooz had a sign at the ready and loudly proclaimed and demonstrated her views. The jury then could reasonably view the resulting disruption as both an intentional and foreseeable result of the defendant’s course of conduct.”

Fairooz could be sentenced up to a year in prison this week, alongside the two activists who were wearing KKK outfits.

Sen. Richard Shelby is urging the court to impose the maximum penalty.

Other Stories of Interest

Trump Jr. Met with Russian Attorney Over Promised Clinton Material

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s son conceded he met with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer after he was promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign.

The president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then-campaign head, Paul J Manafort, were also at the meeting.

The meeting with Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, at the Trump Tower in June 2016, first reported by the New York Times on Sunday, raises troubling questions about whether Trump’s inner circle colluded with Russia, which is the subject of special counsel and congressional investigations. 

Trump Jr. changed his account of the meeting after failing to mention Clinton on Saturday, saying the visit was designed to discuss a program that used to allow American adoptions of Russia children. But after the Times’ report, Trump Jr. changed his story in a statement to the media.

Trump spokesman Mark Corallo, insisted Sunday that “the president was not aware of and did not attend the meeting.”

In Trump Jr.’s statement, he said he invited Kushner and Manafort but didn’t reveal the purpose of the meeting.

FBI Investigated Claims That Bob Knight Sexually Assaulted 4 Women

Bob Knight, via Wikipedia.

Bob Knight, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Four women who worked at a U.S. spy agency are claiming Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Knight sexually assaulted them before and after a 2015 speech he delivered to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in Springfield. Va.

The Washington Post, citing investigative documents and interviews with spy agency employees, wrote that the women “accused Knight of a range of boorish behavior: from touching them on the shoulder while commenting on the attractiveness of their legs, to hugging them too tightly around the chest, to hitting them on the buttocks, according to documents compiled by investigators and Washington Post interviews with three of the women.” 

Inviting the retired coach to deliver a speech on leadership was an unusual choice, given his often boorish behavior and history of making demeaning comments about women.

The Post wrote:

The women accused Knight of a range of boorish behavior: from touching them on the shoulder while commenting on the attractiveness of their legs, to hugging them too tightly around the chest, to hitting them on the buttocks, according to documents compiled by investigators and Washington Post interviews with three of the women.

The FBI led an investigation to determine the veracity of the allegations, but after about a year and denials from Knight, the case was concluded with no charges by federal prosecutors in Virginia.

Knight’s attorney said the allegations were untrue.

“There is absolutely no credible evidence to support this in our opinion, these allegations,” said James Voyles, an Indianapolis lawyer who represents Knight. The FBI agents, he added, “reported to their superiors that there was no basis for any further action, period.”

Other Stories of Interest