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AG Candidate Jeff Sessions Expected to Be Grilled During Senate Hearing Today

Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for attorney general is expected to face fierce scrutiny Tuesday during his confirmation hearing.

Democrats, who are worried about Sessions’ civil rights record, plan to grill him on race, women’s rights and prosecutorial conduct, CNN reports. 

Despite what is expected to be a grueling two days of interrogations, Sessions likely will be confirmed because Republicans hold a majority in the Senate, and no GOP senator has openly criticized the AG candidate.

During the hearing, Sessions is expected to reveal his priorities for the Justice Department, and those likely will include combatting rising crime and addiction rates and terrorism. 

In 1986, Sessions was denied a federal judgeship following confirmation hearings that revealed he allegedly made racist remarks.

Anniston Star: Why Democrats Should Grill Sessions During Confirmation Hearing

US CapitolBy Editorial Board
Anniston Star

In October, after the exposure of a 2005 videotape featuring Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, numbered among the Trump surrogates defending the candidate’s crude and creepy remarks.

There was hardly a more thankless task than trying to explain away Trump casually describing how he gets away with the unsolicited grabbing of women’s genitals.

Yet, Sessions gamely tried. Yes, the senator noted this was “very improper language.” But he also attempted to lawyer away what is and is not sexual assault. Here’s a handy definition from the Justice Department: “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.”

In the aftermath of the release of the videotape, Sessions let it be known he thought the reaction was “overblown.” A typical citizen might wonder if it’s possible to overblow a tape where a major-party candidate uses vulgar language to describe female genitals. Not Sessions, though, he played the good soldier for his candidate.

This week, the Senate considers Sessions’ worthiness to serve as the next U.S. attorney general. Hearings are scheduled for today and Wednesday.

We suggest senators focus on the Trump videotape episode from October, particularly Sessions’ defense of the indefensible.

If he becomes attorney general, Sessions and the Justice Department will be tested unlike any other in modern history.

To read more click here. 

FBI Investigating Flurry of Bomb Threats at Jewish Centers in U.S.

Star of David.

Star of David.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating a flurry of bomb threats reported at Jewish centers in the U.S. and Britain on Monday.

The bomb threats continued to trickle in as the FBI began investigating, the Washington Post reports.

The threats occurred in places such as the Alper Jewish community campus in the Miami-Dade area and a center in Tenafly, N.J.

At least a dozen threats were reported in the U.S. on Monday.

“It’s disturbing,” said Elise Jarvis, who directs the Anti-Defamation League’s security programs.

It’s unclear what prompted the unusual number of bomb threats.

Trump’s Pick for Homeland Security Secretary to Make Case for Confirmation

Marine Gen. John Kelly

Marine Gen. John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s pick for Homeland Security secretary pledged to commit to diversity and tolerance if confirmed during a Senate hearing beginning Tuesday.

Retired Marine Gen. John Kelly is likely to be grilled about his positions following President-elect Donald Trump’s divisive, controversial statements about immigrants, Mexicans and Muslims.

Kelly will testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

“I believe in America and the principles upon which our country and way of life are guaranteed. I believe in respect, tolerance, and diversity of opinion. I have a profound respect for the rule of law and will always strive to uphold it,” Kelly plans to tell the panel, Politico reports. “I have never had a problem speaking truth to power, and I firmly believe that those in power deserve full candor and my honest assessment and recommendations.”

Kelly plans to you his military experience and roll as a military adviser.

Other Stories of Interest

Parker: Two New Drugs Targeted in Opioid Epidemic Battle

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office. 

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The fight against the opioid epidemic has targeted two new recreational drugs being used on the streets as substitutes for heroin and fentanyl. Both U-4700 and Kratom have been on DEA’s radar screen, as well as US Poison Control Centers, in the last few months because of their increased use in 2016, their potential for abuse and health dangers.

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

U-4700, a synthetic opioid, is known on the streets as “44,” and “pink” and until recently has been easily available on the internet. It has been reported that it contributed to the death of rock star Prince last summer. It was originally developed for use in the 1970s as an analgesic, but it has many times the strength of morphine.

Last month DEA classified it under Schedule I as presenting an imminent hazard to the public safety.

Kratom, known on the streets as “Ketum,” thang” and other names, is actually an herb that has been used as a recreational drug for several years. Poison Center calls about overdoses have greatly increased this past year. The drug continues to be freely available on the internet and has no age restrictions on purchasing.

However, Kratom has increasingly been found in combinations with opioids in cases of overdoses, and it can independently produce symptoms such as tachycardia, nausea, and hypertension.

DEA’s journey toward its regulation in the last few months presents an interesting study in the agency’s frustrations over getting drugs that are contributing to the opioid epidemic off the streets. DEA originally announced its intention to classify it under Schedule I, but physicians and scientists complained to Congressmen that it has legitimate medical value. These members urged DEA to delay the ban for a period of public comment, which is presently under way. DEA placed it on the Drugs of Concern List and is continuing to consider its appropriate classification.

This report relied on articles from Medscape Internal Medicine (12/9/16), Forbes (8/22/16), and the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (12/16).

FBI Arrests Volkswagen Executive Over Diesel Emissions Scandal

Oliver Schmidt

Oliver Schmidt

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Volkswagen executive has been arrested by the FBI on charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. over diesel emissions, the New York Times reports

Oliver Schmidt is expected to be arraigned on Monday in Miami. The case is out of Detroit.

Schmidt, who led the automaker’s regulatory compliance office in the U.S. from 2014 to March 2015, is accused of fabricating data that suggested excess emissions were caused by technical problems, not cheating.

A Volkswagen spokeswoman said the automaker “continues to cooperate with the Department of Justice” but that “it would not be appropriate to comment on any ongoing investigations or to discuss personnel matters.”

FBI Agent Who Interrogated Saddam Hussein Leads Florida Airport Shooting Probe

FBI Agent George Piro interviewed on 60 Minutes in 2008

FBI Agent George Piro interviewed on 60 Minutes in 2008

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI agent who is in charge of the investigation into the Florida airport shooting was known for interrogating Saddam Hussein alone for months.

George Piro, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami field office, is leading the investigation into the shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport that killed five people, the Associated Press reports.

Esteban Santiago, a 26-year-old Iraq war veteran, is facing the death penalty if convicted.

Piro pledged to fight for the families and victims.

“I want to ensure these families that law enforcement is working tirelessly in order to ensure justice is served,” he said.

Pro became an FBI agent in 1999 and is a native of Beirut, Lebanon. He is fluent in Arabic and Assyrian.

FBI Spent Year-Plus Investigating Muhammad Ali-Sonny Liston Fight

Muhammad Ali in 1966

Muhammad Ali in 1966

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Soon after boxing great Muhammad Ali defeated Sonny Liston in a 1965 championship fight, the FBI launched an investigation into rumors that the fight was fixed.

The investigation lasted more than a year and found no evidence to substantiate the allegations, according to newly released documents by the FBI.  

Two days after the fight, the FBI sent an internal memo about dedicating resources to investigate the rumors:

As you know, the Liston-Clay (Muhammad Ali) fight has received wide publicity by all forms of news media. Included in the publicity have been what appear to be unsubstantiated allegations by sports writers and persons long associated with the fight game that this fight was “fixed.”

Since we have received no information or allegations indicating improprieties in connection with this fight, no open investigation is being conducted. It is felt, however, that appropriate confidential informants and sources located in logical offices should be discreetly contacted for information on this matter.

Despite a lack of evidence, J. Edgar Hoover’s office insisted that the investigation continue into one of boxing’s most storied fights. Ali defeated heavyweight champion Liston from what some believed was a “phantom punch” that couldn’t have possibly knocked out Liston.

The FBI chased rumor after rumor until closing the investigation about 13 months after it began.

Ali was the subject of constant FBI scrutiny because of his ties to the Nation of Islam.