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Mexican Police Arrest Cartel Member Accused in 1985 Torture, Murder of DEA Agent

Ezequiel Godinez Cervantes is in custody.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Mexican police arrested a 77-year-old man accused in the 1985 torturing and killing of DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena Salazar.

The arrest of Ezequiel Godinez Cervantes is major break in what was the first time a cartel had murdered a DEA agent.

DEA Agent Enrique Camarena

The FBI tipped off Mexican authorities that Godinez had crossed the border.

“The killing of an American agent on foreign soil was a huge game changer for the United States,” Gretchen Von Helms, a criminal defense attorney who has no ties to the case, told NBC 7 San Diego. “They were obviously very interested in protecting their agents down there and at the time the DEA operated in Mexico much like it was in the United States. You didn’t believe that you could be killed.”

Camarena was working undercover in February 1985 when he disappeared. His body was found a month later on a ranch in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The Guadalajara Cartel accused the agent of taking down a marijuana plantation.

“His name has morphed into a symbol of the drug wars between the United States and Mexico,” Von Helms told NBC 7.

Camarena was depicted in the Netflix show “Narcos: Mexico.”

Godinez, who also is accused of killing two Americans he mistook for DEA agents, was handed over to immigration officials for planned extradition to the U.S., where he will be charged.

FBI Sent Investigator to Question Trump Aide about Russia’s Involvement

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI in 2016 sent an undercover investigator masquerading as a research assistant to meet with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos as part of a counterintelligence investigation into the campaign’s ties to Russia, The New York Times reports.

The meeting happened at a London pub after Papadopoulos suggested to an Austrian diplomat that the campaign had “received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to candidate Clinton,” according to Robert Mueller’s report.

Ultimately, the operation “yielded no fruitful information,” The Times reports.

The operation shows how far the FBI was willing to go to determine whether Trump’s campaign was working with Russia in its attempts to interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The newly discovered information gives Trump and his supporters fuel to claim the FBI improperly “spied” on him to derail his campaign. Whether the counterintelligence probe was improper is the subject of an investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Last month, Attorney General William Barr said he believes “spying did occur.”
The Trump campaign released the following statement:

“There is a word for this in the English language: Spying. Democrats and their media friends have expressed horror at the term, but there is no other way to describe it: The FBI spied on the Trump campaign in 2016. For two years, Democrats and their allies in the media have lied to the American people about the Russia collusion hoax, when all along the real scandal was the Obama Administration using the Justice Department to spy on a political adversary’s campaign. As President Trump has said, it is high time to investigate the investigators.”

TSA: Traveler Carried Large Sack of Moose Poop for Politicians onto Airplane

Sack of moose pop, via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

TSA agents made a stinky discovery: A traveler passed through airport security at Alaska’s Juneau International Airport carrying a large sack of moose poop.

Security stopped the traveler on April 15 after his carry-on was flagged for a “large organic mass.”

The traveler had a simple explanation, saying the nuggets of poop were “for politicians and their bleep policies,” a TSA spokeswoman told KTOO.

Since there are no rules against carrying moose poop, the man and his poop were sent on their way.

Comey Suggests to Barr That Trump ‘Has Eaten Your Soul’

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey slammed Attorney General William Barr’s handling of the Robert Mueller report on Russian interference in the presidential election.

In an op-ed in The New York Times on Wednesday, Comey questions how a “bright and accomplished lawyer” like Barr could downplay obstruction of justice and other disturbing findings in the Mueller report.

Comey attempts to answer the question, suggesting accomplished people’s “proximity to an amoral leader” and their “lacking inner strength” can make it difficult to “resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from.”

Comey says leaders must make “compromises” and adopt his language and “praise his leadership” to avoid termination.

“And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul,” Comey concluded.

Thomas Brandon, ATF’s Top Agent, On His Last Day At Work Talks About Drug Gangs, the NRA and More

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Thomas Brandon started with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 1989 in Detroit at a time when some of the most violent drug gangs, including one called Best Friends, ruled the streets. Murders went hand-and-hand with trafficking of crack and kilos of cocaine and gun purchases.

Eventually, he became the top agent in the Detroit division. In 2015, he was appointed acting director of the agency in Washington. After 30 years with ATF, Brandon, 58, recently announced his retirement from the top job. Brandon chose to spend Tuesday, his last day on the job, in Detroit where it all started.

Brandon, whose son is an ATF agent in Detroit, sat down in the Detroit ATF office with ticklethewire.com’s editor Allan Lengel, who is also editor of Deadline Detroit, to talk about his career in Detroit and Washington, the NRA and gun issues.

Lengel: Attorney General William Barr, the Shameful Lapdog

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

I’ve always been intrigued by the Attorneys General and how they manage to navigate between serving the people and being loyal to the president who appointed them.

Watching Attorney General William Barr in recent weeks brings me to the conclusion that he’s failed miserably at that job,  and done so with arrogance.

Barr, in order to save his job, has become President Donald Trump’s public relationships man.

His summary of the Robert Mueller report was clearly done with the intention of minimizing a two-year investigation by Robert Mueller and company.

But what was even more shameful was the press conference Barr had before releasing the report, something I would have expected from Richard Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell. And we all know where Mitchell ended up.

Interestingly, I had the lowest of expectations when it came to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Trump. I thought Sessions would easily roll over for Trump.

Though I didn’t agree with some of his policies, surprisingly, Sessions recused himself and maintained the integrity of the office, even after he was repeatedly humiliated by Trump via Twitter.

In his short time in office, Barr has made it clear holding on to such a powerful position is far more important than holding on to his integrity. It happens inside the Beltway. Power trumps any monetary rewards guys like Barr can earn at a fancy law firm.

An attorney general has to be willing to be fired or resign rather than be a lapdog for the president.

Someone close to Barr needs to tell him that.

Though at this point it may be too late.

 

5 Takeaways from Attorney General Barr’s Testimony about Mueller Report

Attorney General William Barr testifies on Wednesday.

Attorney General William Barr was defiant Wednesday while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Here are five takeaways from the hearing:

1. Calls for Barr to resign

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, demanded Barr resign, accusing him of lying to Congress and covering up for President Trump.

“You lied to Congress.” Hirono said. “Now we know more about your deep involvement and trying to cover up for Donald Trump. Being attorney general of the United States is a sacred trust. You have betrayed that trust. America deserves better. You should resign.”

2. “Misleading” testimony

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, accused Barr of “purposely misleading” the committee when he suggested he was “not aware of any challenge to the accuracy of the findings.”

Leahy pointed out that Mueller expressed his misgivings with Barr about his handling of the Mueller report.

“Mr. Barr, I feel that your answer was purposely misleading, and I think others do, too,” Leahy told the attorney general.

3. Barr suggests Trump ‘fully cooperated’

Barr insisted Trump “fully cooperated” with Mueller’s investigation, drawing criticism from Democrats.

Mueller’s report repeatedly indicated that Trump and his team failed to cooperate with a lot of the investigation and that the president refused to sit down for an interview.

The report states, “We again requested an in-person interview, limited to certain topics, advising the President’s counsel that ‘this is the President’s opportunity to voluntarily provide us with information for us to evaluate in the context of all of the evidence we have gathered.’ President Trump declined.”

4. Barr has no qualms with Mueller testifying 

When Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, asked Barr if Mueller should testify, Barr responded, “I already said publicly, I have no objection.”

But when Durbin asked if former White House counsel Don McGahn should testify, Barr said, “That’s a call for the President to make.”

Durbin responded, “Well, he’s a private citizen at this point.”

Barr said, “I assume he would be testifying about privileged matters.”

5. Barr refers to Mueller report as “my baby”

Barr testified that Mueller’s report was “my baby” after the special counsel turned it over to the Justice Department.

“His work concluded when he sent his work to the attorney general,” Barr said. “At that point, it was my baby, and I effective overrode the regulations, used discretion, to lean as far forward as I could to make that public. And it was my decision how and when to make it public, not Bob Mueller’s.”

Barr is scheduled to testify Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee.