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Meadows Continues Attack on Wray: ‘We Want to Make Sure He’s Doing His job’

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on “Face the Nation.”

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows doubled down on his criticism of FBI Director Christopher Wray on Sunday and even suggested he could be replaced, ramping up the baseless narrative that mail-in votes are going to lead to widespread fraud.

“As we look at this, we want to make sure he’s doing his job. There are different degrees of confidence in different Cabinet members,” Meadows said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Certainly, he’s still there. The minute that the president loses confidence in any of his Cabinet members — they serve at his pleasure — he will certainly look at replacing them.”

The rebuke of Wray comes after he told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Thursday that there’s no evidence of “any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort.”

Meadows lashed out at Wray on Friday, saying the FBI director “has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI, let alone finding out whether there is any kind of voter fraud.”

On Sunday, Meadows said Wray was too quick to dismiss election fraud.

“To suggest that there is a process that is full of integrity is trying to make a verdict before you’ve actually heard the case,” Meadows aid. “That’s my problem with Director Wray. They need to investigate it and make sure that the voting populace, make sure their vote counts and no one else’s does.”

But Wray emphasized to lawmakers last week that the FBI “would investigate seriously” any evidence of election fraud.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson weighed in Sunday.

“It’s disconcerting to see the president and his chief of staff cast doubt on the integrity of our democracy,” Johnson said “Face the Nation.” “In fact, mail-in voting is almost as old as the nation. There are states now where the predominant way to vote is by mail.”

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Philly Mob in 2016

Meadows Slams Wray after Senate Testimony: ‘He has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI’

Christopher Wray is sworn in as the new FBI director. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Friday lashed out at FBI Director Christopher Wray after he told lawmakers the day before that there was no evidence of large-scale voter fraud.

“With all due respect to Director Wray, he has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI, let alone figuring out whether there is any kind of voter fraud,” Meadows said in an interview with “CBS This Morning” on Friday.

Wray contradicted President Trump’s repeated and baseless assertion that mail-in ballots will lead to widespread fraud.

Meadows referenced a Washington Post story about several hundred North Carolina voters receiving duplicate absentee ballots. The duplicate ballots were the result of a clerical error, and since people can’t vote twice, receiving duplicate ballots cannot lead to fraud.

“Perhaps he needs to get involved on the ground and he would change his testimony on Capitol Hill,” Meadows said of Wray.

Meadows skirted around a question about whether Trump still had confidence in Wray.

On Friday morning, Trump claimed on Twitter that “there is fraud being found all over the place.”

Retired Border Patrol Agent Suspected of Killing Wife, Then Himself

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A retired 57-year-old Border Patrol agent is accused of fatally shooting his wife in Texas and then taking his own life.

Authorities say Mark Martinez, a 28-year Border Patrol veteran who retired in 2015, killed his wife inside the couple’s home in West El Paso on Wednesday, BorderReport.com reports.

The next morning, investigators discovered Martinez dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside a vehicle in La Union, N.M.

Police said the body of Martinez’s wife, Norma Martinez, was found by a family member.

The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office and officers with U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force found Martinez’s body.

The El Paso Police Department’s Crimes Against Persons unit is investigating the suspected murder-suicide.

FBI Director Wray Disputes Large-Scale Voter Fraud, Countering Claims by Trump

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers Thursday that the bureau has seen no evidence of large-scale voter fraud, contradicting President Trump’s repeated and baseless claims that mail-in voting may rig the election against him.

Testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Wray also said it would be a “major challenge” for a foreign country to interfere with the election using bogus mail-in ballots.

“We have not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it’s by mail or otherwise,” Wray said.

If the bureau saw any efforts to undermine the election, Wray said the FBI “would investigate seriously.”

A day before Wray’s testimony, Trump declined to commit to a peaceful transition of power if his contender Joe Biden wins, saying he’s worried about “the ballots.”

On Friday morning, Trump claimed on Twitter that “there is fraud being found all over the place.”

Wray said voter fraud at the local level has occurred “from time to time,” but he disputed large-scale fraud.

“To change a federal election outcome by mounting that kind of fraud at scale would be a major challenge for an adversary,” Wray said

Chad Wolf Faces Pointed Questions at Homeland Security Confirmation Hearing

Acting Homeland Security Director Chad Wolf testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf fielded pointed questions during his Senate confirmation Wednesday and denied a whistleblower’s allegations that he pressured employees to downplay Russian election interference.

Testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Wolf called the whistleblower’s claims “patently false.”

In a written complaint in August, Brian Murphy, the former chief of intelligence at DHS, accused acting Wolf of directing him to suppress assessments on Russia and later withhold a report on Russian propaganda attacking Joe Biden’s mental health.

“It is patently false. It is a fabrication, completely,” Wolf told the committee.

Wolf said Murphy was reassigned to Homeland Security’s management division following news that his office collected intelligence on protesters and journalists in Portland. But in the complaint, Murphy said the real reason for his demotion was his raising concerns about the orders.

At the start of the hearing, Sen. Gar Peters, D-Mich., said, “Rhetoric and political ideology cannot drive intelligence reports, and it should not predetermine the actions of any federal department,” The Associated Press reports.

It’s not yet clear if Wolf has the votes to be confirmed.

Courts and the Government Accountability Office have both suggested Wolf is not legally qualified to hold the position because he was appointed through an invalid process.

Wolf is Trump’s fifth Homeland Security secretary. The last Senate-confirmed secretary was Kirstjen Nielsen, who was forced out in April 2019.

Wray Returns to the Hot Seat a Week After Drawing Criticism from President Trump

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in February.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A week after President Trump criticized his FBI director for his testimony before a House committee, Christopher Wray will be back in the hot seat today.

This time, Wray is set to testify before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Wray’s testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee drew criticism from Trump, who suggested he may consider replacing his director after he testified that Russia was interfering in the presidential election. Wray told lawmakers that Russia was trying to “denigrate” Biden by using social media to spread propaganda.

“I did not like his answers,” Trump said last week. “I’m not sure he liked them either. I’m sure he probably would agree with me.”

When asked if he may replace Wray, Trump responded, “We’re looking at a lot of different things.”

DOJ Operation Leads to Largest Seizure of Drugs Sold on Darknet sites

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators have arrested dozens of people accused of trafficking drugs through Darknet sites, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

The operation led to the seizure of more than $6.5 million in cash and virtual currencies, about 274 kilograms of drugs ranging from fentanyl and oxycodone to methamphetamine to heroin in the U.S., and 63 firearms.

The busts were part of operation DisrupTor, an international effort involving the Justice Department and law enforcement partners in Europe. It was the largest seizure of drugs sold online in U.S. history.

Darknet sites, which are on encrypted networks to make access difficult, have become a popular way to distribute illicit drugs.

“Criminals selling fentanyl on the Darknet should pay attention to Operation DisrupTor,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a news release. “The arrest of 179 of them in seven countries—with the seizure of their drug supplies and their money as well — shows that there will be no safe haven for drug dealing in cyberspace.”

“With the spike in opioid-related overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that today’s announcement is important and timely,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said. “The FBI wants to assure the American public, and the world, that we are committed to identifying Darknet drug dealers and bringing them to justice.  But our work does not end with today’s announcement. The FBI, through JCODE and our partnership with Europol, continues to be actively engaged in a combined effort to disrupt the borderless, worldwide trade of illicit drugs. The FBI will continue to use all investigative techniques and tools to identify and prosecute Darknet opioid dealers, wherever they may be located.”

Click here to read prepared remarks on the busts.