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House Democrats Demand Secret Service Payments to Trump Organization

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

House Democrats are asking the Secret Service to disclose how much money it is spending at President Trump’s company while protecting him at his properties, often while he’s golfing.

The request comes after The Washington Post revealed that the Secret Service was spending as much as $650 per night for rooms for each agent. The costs added up to more than $471,000 for stays between January 2017 and April 2018.

In a letter to Secret Service Director James Murray, Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney and Jackie Speier requested payment records and any contracts between the Trump Organization and the Secret Service.

“The payment of rates far above government rates and the Trump Administration’s lack of transparency raise serious concerns about the use of taxpayer dollars and raise questions about government spending at other Trump properties,” Maloney and Speier wrote in the letter. “These concerns are heightened since President Trump has spent a third of his presidency at his private clubs and hotels, and his Treasury Secretary has attempted to shield Secret Service expenses from public scrutiny.”

The letter notes that Eric Trump, the president’s son and executive Vice President of the Trump Organization, told Yahoo Finance that the government “saves a fortune” when it stays at properties he owns. But records show the payments are higher than usual.

The House Democrats also criticized the Secret Service’s failure to disclose the “full scope of its payments to the president’s businesses or its expenses for presidential travel to his own properties.”

TSA Officer Accused of Coercing Woman into Twice Bearing Her Breasts

Via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A TSA officer is accused of coercing a female passenger into showing him her breasts twice during a security screening at Los Angeles International Airpot.

Johnathon Lomeli, 22, was arrested last week  on charges of fraud or deceit to falsely imprison a woman passing through security, the Associated Press reports.

Prosecutors said Lomeli told the woman he needed to inspect her bra to ensure she wasn’t concealing anything. He then told her to lift her shirt “to show me your full breasts” and then demanded she pull her pants away from her waist so he could take a look.

After telling her she was free to go, he allegedly said she had nice breasts.

Trump Congratulates AG Barr for Intervening in Roger Stone Sentencing Recommendation

Attorney General William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A team of career prosecutors withdrew from the case of Roger Stone Jr. after senior prosecutors for the Justice Department sought a shorter sentence for President Trump’s confidant and friend.

The prosecutors had recommended seven to nine years after Stone, a GOP dirty trickster, was found guilty in November on seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

Senior Justice Department officials overruled the sentencing recommendation, saying it was excessive, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. Under the revised recommendation, the Justice Department said the sentence should be “far less,” suggesting the earlier one “does not accurately reflect the Department of Justice’s position on what would be a reasonable sentence in this matter.”

The abrupt and unusual intervention of senior officials raised serious questions about whether the Justice Department – and more specifically, Attorney General William Barr – was bowing to pressure from Trump, who declared on Tuesday that the DOJ’s sentence recommendation was “horrible and very unfair.”

On Wednesday morning, Trump congratulated Barr for intervening.

“Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought,” Trump tweeted. “Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!”

About 10 minutes later, Trump added, “Two months in jail for a Swamp Creature, yet 9 years recommended for Roger Stone (who was not even working for the Trump Campaign). Gee, that sounds very fair! Rogue prosecutors maybe? The Swamp!”

Of the four prosecutors who withdrew from the case, one resigned entirely from the Justice Department.

Legal experts criticized the Justice Department’s intervention.

Michael R. Bromwich, who was the DOJ’s inspector general under President Bill Clinton, tweeted to “all career DOJ employees:” “Report all instances of improper political influence and other misdeeds to the DOJ IG, who is required to protect your identity.”

“This is not what you signed up for. The four prosecutors who bailed on the Stone case have shown the way,” Bromwich tweeted.

Border Officers Help Deliver Baby in CBP Car on Texas Bridge

CBP officers helped deliver a baby. Photo via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

CBP officers helped deliver a baby at the Free Trade International Bridge at Los Indios in Texas.

Shortly after 7 a.m. on Sunday, a 16-year-old U.S. resident went into labor at the midpoint of the bridge. CBP officers were preparing to take the teenager to the hospital, but she was in full labor.

So CBP officers helped deliver the baby inside a CBP vehicle.

“Our officers are ready for a variety of situations, even childbirth, and they utilized all of their training and experience to calm the mother and assist with her delivery, which happened almost immediately after crossing back into the United States,” Port Director Tater Ortiz, Brownsville Port of Entry, said in a news release.

The mother and her health baby were transported to a local hospital, where they were reported in good health.

Trump Budget Calls for Moving Secret Service Back to Treasury Department

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service, which has been a part of the Department of Homeland Security after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, may soon return to the Treasury Department.

The move is part of President Trump’s 2021 budget.

CQ Roll Call spotted the proposal in a footnote to an Office of Management and Budget summary table for the next year’s budget.

“The funding totals for 2019 actual and 2020 enacted are comparatively adjusted to reflect the Administration’s 2021 Budget proposal to shift the U.S. Secret Service from DHS to the Department of the Treasury,” the footnote said.

The move would need legislative approval and is supported by current and former Secret Service directors.

Top Senators from both parties are discussing the move.

“The good news is we have bipartisan support in the Senate. They’ll be introducing this legislation,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a Fox Business Network interview last week. “I think you know the Secret Service was started at the Treasury Department to prevent counterfeiting.”

Trump’s administration says the move will boost efforts to combat cyber-enabled financial crimes and improve national security efforts.

Retired FBI Agent Who Investigated KKK: Did President Trump Open the Door for Racist Remark in Michigan?

The writer, an FBI agent for 31 years, retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office in 2006. He is a columnist for ticklethewire.com. 

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

In the late ’70s, I was assigned to the FBI Detroit field office’s surveillance squad. We spent most of the time following Detroit organized crime members, but we were also involved in other investigations. One of those resulted in information that a local group of the Ku Klux Klan were going to Tennessee to obtain dynamite. We were tasked with following them.

The Klan guys left for Tennessee in the evening in one van and drove straight through the night. They switched drivers every few hours — a challenge for us, as we only had one agent per car. A lot of coffee was consumed.

Periodically we would switch the lead car, so they didn’t see the same car following them. We ended up in rural east Tennessee on a two-lane highway. I was in the lead car when the van turned onto a dirt road. I let the van go over the first hill before I followed. There were several steep hills before the road led to an open field. Upon reaching the crest of the last hill, I saw something I didn’t think still existed.

The field was full of men in white robes with tall conical hats. Knowing I wouldn’t be welcome, I put the car in reverse, and backed down the road. I got on the radio and told the rest of the team to not come any further.

Later that night we saw the Klan burn a cross in a nearby town square. The Michigan Klan guys never got their dynamite, but that road trip left me with some indelible images of evil incarnate. No good has ever come from wearing those white robes and pointy hats.

I thought about what I saw in that field in Tennessee when I saw the reports of the August 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that left a counterprotester dead. President Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides.” That’s only true if you can be a very fine person and be a racist and a xenophobe. 

Hate and racism are malignant

Greg Stejskal

Hate and racism are like some cancers. They may be in remission, but never go away. In the last few years, racism has seemed to metastasize.

When Trump announced that he was running, he said: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… . They’re sending people who have lots of problems and they’re bringing those with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some I assume are good people.”

His statement didn’t evoke Emma Lazarus’ poem on the Statue of Liberty.

When Trump was criticized by four female congresswomen of color, he responded by saying that they should “go back” to the “crime-infested places from which they came.” All but one, who is a Somali refugee, were born in the U.S. and are elected members of the House of Representatives.

The Saline incident

Featured_try_this_40338
Mexican American parent Adrian Iraola, standing,  is interrupted by Tom Burtell at right. (Photo: MLive video screenshot) 

So it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that at a school meeting a few days ago in Saline, Mexican-American parent Adrian Iraola, was interrupted by another parent, Tom Burtell. Iraola was talking about his son distress over being called names like “taco” and “enchilada” while attending Saline schools. Burtell interrupted, saying: “Then why didn’t you stay in Mexico?”

The video of the Saline incident (bleow) went viral and precipitated a national discussion. 

Read more »

Off-Duty FBI Agent Shot Man Twice in Chest During Altercation in San Francisco

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

An off-duty FBI agent shot a man in San Francisco during an altercation in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood late Saturday night.

The shooting happened at 11:34 p.m. and left the man injured with two gunshot wounds to the chest, the San Francisco Examiner reports.

He was taken to a hospital and listed in non-life threatening conditions early Sunday morning.

The FBI agent, who was not identified, was uninjured.

A witness told the Examiner that three men were in an altercation, and one man slammed another against a wall before pulling out a gun and pulling the trigger at least twice. The witness said he saw the man with a gun pull out a badge and identify himself as law enforcement.

“The FBI takes any shooting incident involving our agents or task force members seriously,” FBI spokesperson Prentice Danner said. “In accordance with FBI policy, the shooting incident is under investigation by the FBI’s Inspection Division. The review process is thorough and objective, and is conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances.”

The San Francisco Police Department’s Homicide Detail also is investigating.

Calvin A. Shivers Named Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation Division at FBI Headquarters

Calvin A. Shivers

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Calvin A. Shivers has been named assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Shivers had been serving as the deputy assistant director of the division.

Shivers became an FBI special agent in 1990 and was assigned to the Lafayette Resident Agency of the New Orleans Field Office, where he investigated violent crime, gangs, white-collar crime, public corruption, and transnational organized crime. In 1996 he was promoted to supervisory special agent in the Personnel Resources Unit at headquarters, managing the bureau’s national recruiting program.

In 1999, Shivers moved to the Counterterrorism Division for two years and then was transferred to the Washington Field Office as the supervisor of a violent crime squad and a violent gang Safe Streets Task Force.

In 2006, Shivers was promoted to unit chief of the bureau’s Safe Streets and Gang Unit at headquarters, managing the FBI’s gang program and 140 Safe Streets Task Forces across the nation.

In 2008, Shivers was promoted to assistant section chief in the Criminal Investigative Division, where he managed operational and intelligence programs that focused on violent crime, narcotics trafficking, and violent street gangs.

In 2013, he became assistant special agent in charge in the San Antonio Field Office in Texas, overseeing criminal and crisis management matters.

In 2015, Shivers returned to headquarters, serving as the chief of the Violent Crimes Against Children Section, which oversees child abductions, child pornography, and child sex trafficking investigations.

In 2016, Shivers was appointed special agent in charge of the Denver Field Office, and in 2018 was promoted to deputy assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division.

Shivers was twice deployed to Iraq and once to Turkey during his time with the bureau.

Shivers earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a law degree from the Catholic University of America.