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AG Barr Pledges to Investigate FBI, DOJ Actions in Trump Probe

AG William Barr testifies before U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Now that the special counsel investigation of Russia is complete, Attorney General William Barr is flipping the focus on the Justice Department and FBI’s decisions to investigate President Trump and his campaign.

“I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016,” Barr told the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday.

The idea is to determine whether the investigation into possible collusion with Russia was motivated by an anti-Trump bias in the FBI and Justice Department.

That topic is expected to gain steam Wednesday as Barr is scheduled to appear before a GOP-led Senate subcommittee.

Trump has long complained that the investigation was a “witch hunt.”

Bias? Feds Worried Black Activists Would Join ISIS, Other Terrorists

File photo of President Trump protesters in Ypsilanti, Mi. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities became worried in 2014 that black activists who were calling for an end to the police killings of African Americans would join international terrorist groups such as ISIS.

Unsurprisingly, authorities found no evidence to substantiate their baseless concerns, according to documents obtained by the government transparency group Property of the People and shared exclusively with The Intercept.

The records “reveal that officials with the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence exaggerated the significance of isolated social media activity, mostly by foreign accounts, advocating for a connection between the domestic movement against police brutality and foreign terrorism.”

As protests broke out in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 and Baltimore in 2015, DHS officials worried that ISIS may try “to use the situation in Ferguson as a recruitment tool” or call on “Baltimore rioters to join them.”

A year later, as protests spread to other cities, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, a cabinet position, issued a memo about a single, foreign pro-Al Qaeda Facebook user who urged “‘Black’ Americans to take up arms” and “start armed war against the U.S. government.”

This wasn’t the first time federal law enforcement warned of black activists.

In a 2017 threat assessment report, the FBI came up with the label, “Black Identity Extremism,” to warn about potential homegrown violence stemming from anger over police shootings.

No evidence was ever found to tie black activists with terrorism.

“They try to make it more scary, it’s like, ‘If we link Islam to it, and we link Muslims to it, then people will see this as a real threat, because nothing is scarier than Muslims,’” Umar Lee, a well-known St. Louis activist, who is Muslim, told The Intercept. “Nothing is scarier than, ‘Hey, if the Muslims get together with these scary black dudes, then we got a real problem, so we need every resource available to stop this.’”

Democrats to Press AG William Barr on Special Counsel Report During Hearing

AG William Barr

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr will take the hot seat Tuesday before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee to answer questions about the full report submitted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Democrats on the subcommittee are expected to grill Barr about the report and his decision to issue a slim summary that concluded he and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, concluded President Trump’s actions did not amount to obstruction.

The hearing is set for 9:30 a.m.

Democrats are suspicious of the summary report, which indicated Mueller’s 22-month investigation found no crimes committed by the president.

Barr has said he expected to release a redacted version of the full report by mid-April.

It’s Adios for Secret Service Director Randolph Alles

Randolph D. Alles

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Job stability. You can’t count on it in the Trump administration.

Secret Service Director Randolph Alles is the latest to be departing, ABC News reported Monday, adding that his departure is at the direction of the president.

“United States Secret Service director Randolph “Tex” Alles has done a great job at the agency over the last two years, and the President is thankful for his over 40 years of service to the country,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “Mr. Alles will be leaving shortly and President Trump has selected James M. Murray, a career member of the USSS, to take over as director beginning in May.”

The news comes just one day after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned.  A few days before that, Thomas Brandon, head of ATF, announced he was departing April 30.

FBI, ATF Investigate ‘Suspicious’ Fires at 3 Historic Black Churches in Louisiana

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI, ATF and Louisiana state officials are investigating a series of “suspicious” blazes at historic black Baptist churches in Louisiana.

The three fires have a lot in common: They broke out at historic African American church buildings in Louisiana Landry Parish at night, were located in rural areas and occurred when no one was inside, ABC News reports.

The first fire broke out on March 26 and burned St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre to the ground. The second fire occurred Tuesday at the Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, and the third fire broke out Thursday at the 100-year-old Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas.

Authorities said they’re on high alert and consider all three fires to be suspicious.

DHS Secretary Nielsen Resigns Amid Shakeup to Address Immigration

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned Sunday to address the Trump administration’s concern over illegal immigration.

In a tweet Sunday, Trump thanked Nielsen for her service and announced that Kevin McAleenan, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner, would become the acting DHS secretary.

 

McAleenan is a longtime border official who has fostered a good relationship with Congress and the Trump administration.

Nielsen met with Trump at the White House on Sunday, unaware she was going to be forced to resign, two people familiar with the decision told the Associated Press.
The sources said the move was part of a shakeup over the number of Central American families spilling across the southern border.

In her resignation letter, Nielsen never mentioned a riff with the Trump administration and said she was proud of her service and the employees at DHS.

“It has been my great honor to lead the men and women of the Department as its sixth Secretary,” Nielsen wrote. “I could not be prouder of and more humbled by their service, dedication, and commitment to keep our country safe from all threats and hazards.”

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Cali Cartel

Justice Defends Barr’s Handling of the Mueller Report

AG William Barr

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After reports surfaced that the Mueller team wasn’t happy with the summary of their report that was issued by Attorney General William Barr, the Justice Department barked back.

DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement Thursday that each page of Mueller’s report was marked saying that it may contain confidential grand jury information “and therefore could not be publicly released,” The Hill reports.