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Nearly 2,000 former DOJ Employees Call on Barr to Resign for Moving to Drop Michael Flynn Case

AG William Barr in Detroit, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Nearly 2,000 former Justice Department employees on Monday urged Attorney General William Barr to resign in an open letter that says he “once against assaulted the rule of law” when he intervened in the case against Michael Flynn.

The decision to drop the prosecution of Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, was “extraordinarily rare, if not unprecedented.”

The letter, organized by the nonprofit Protect Democracy, also encourages Congress to censure Barr over “his repeated assaults on the rule of law in doing the President’s personal bidding rather than acting in the public interest.”

Ticklethewire.com was unable to immediately reach the Attorney General’s Office for comment Tuesday morning.

In February, Protect Democracy collected more than 2,600 signatures on a letter calling for Barr’s resignation for intervening in Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation.

On Sunday, Mary McCord, former career Justice Department official, said Attorney General William Barr twisted her words to argue that former national security adviser Michael Flynn should not be prosecuted for lying to the FBI.

Michael A. Christman Named Special Agent in Charge of Pittsburgh Field Office

Michael A. Christmas, special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh Field Office.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Michael A. Christman, who was deputy assistant director for the Criminal Justice Information Services Division in West Virginia, has been named special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh Field Office.

Christman’s career with the FBI began in February 1992, when he served on the Safe Streets Task Force in Salt Lake City that targets violent gangs and Mexican drug-trafficking organizations. In addition, he investigated violent crime and other criminal issues.

Christman joined the Cleveland Field Office in 1997 to serve on the Caribbean Gang Drug Task Force and on the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

In 2005, he was promoted to supervisory special agent at the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

In 2007, he began working at the Pittsburgh Field Office, targeting drugs, gangs and violent crime. In addition, he led the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force.

In 2014, Christman was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of Criminal, Intelligence, and Administrative Programs in Pittsburgh. In 2015, he headed Pittsburgh’s Cyber and Intelligence Programs.

Two years later, he was promoted to chief of a Cyber Operations section at headquarters, managing all of the bureau’s cyber-criminal investigations. He also chaired the International Cyber Crimes Working Group.

In 2018, Christman was named deputy assistant director of the Criminal Justice Information Services Division’s Operational Programs Branch, where he oversaw the Global Law Enforcement Support Section, National Threat Operations Section, and Resources Management Section.

Before joining the FBI, Christman worked for the prosecutor’s office in the city of Akron, Ohio. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Youngstown State University and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Akron.

Secret Service Agents Ordered to Wear Masks around President Trump

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Secret Service agents who are likely to come into close contact with President Trump have been ordered to wear masks.

ABC News reports that stricter measures have been put in place after two aides at the White House have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Any meetings the president goes to, people will maintain maximum social distancing measures,” one administration official told ABC News.

The Secret Service would not comment on the matter.

Trump is routinely observed not wearing a mask while coming into close contact with people.

There also were talks about separating Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, but it appears that will not happen and the pair will continue to attending meetings together.

Former DOJ Official Claims Barr Twisted Her Words to Drop Charges Against Michael Flynn

Former acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary McCord.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Mary McCord, former career Justice Department official, said Attorney General William Barr twisted her words to argue that former national security adviser Michael Flynn should not be prosecuted for lying to the FBI.

McCord, who oversaw the early stages of the Russia investigation, said in a New York Times op-ed Sunday that the DOJ’s motion to dismiss the charges largely hinged on her account about what led up to the bureau’s interview with Flynn, who was President Trump’s first national security adviser.

“The account of my interview in 2017 doesn’t help the department support this conclusion, and it is disingenuous for the department to twist my words to suggest that it does,” McCord wrote. “What the account of my interview describes is a difference of opinion about what to do with the information that Mr. Flynn apparently had lied to the incoming vice president, Mr. Pence, and others in the incoming administration about whether he had discussed the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia in his calls with (Russia’s then ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Those apparent lies prompted Mr. Pence and others to convey inaccurate statements about the nature of the conversations in public news conferences and interviews.”

McCord acknowledged the FBI should have coordinated Flynn’s interview with the Justice Department, but said she does not believe the agencies lacked a reason to suspect Flynn may have violated crimes.

“It has no bearing on whether Mr. Flynn’s lies to the F.B.I. were material to the clear counterintelligence threat posed by the susceptible position Mr. Flynn put himself in when he told Mr. Pence and others in the new administration that he had not discussed the sanctions with Mr. Kislyak. The materiality is obvious,” she concluded.

McCord concluded, “In short, the report of my interview does not anywhere suggest that the FBI’s interview of Mr. Flynn was unconstitutional, unlawful or not “tethered” to any legitimate counterintelligence purpose.”

President Obama Says ‘Rule of Law is at Risk’ in Dismissal of Michael Flynn Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former President Barack Obama, who has tried to be low key and refrain from publicly criticizing President Donald Trump, said in a private conversation Friday with ex-members of his administration that the “rule of law is at risk” in the Michael Flynn case, Michael Isikoff of Yahoo! News reports.

Obama called the the Justice Department’s move to drop the charges against the former White House national security adviser unprecedented.

“The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed — about the Justice Department dropping charges against Michael Flynn,” Obama said in a web talk with members of the Obama Alumni Association.

“And the fact that there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free. That’s the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic — not just institutional norms — but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk. And when you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly as we’ve seen in other places.”

Weekend Series on Crime: The Mafia

TSA to Require Employees to Wear Facial Coverings Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The TSA said Thursday it will begin requiring employees to wear “facial protection” at screening checkpoints, more than two months after the pandemic reached the U.S.

The decision comes after 534 TSA employees have tested positive for the coronavirus and six have died, as of Thursday.

“TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process,” the TSA said in a statement.

The decision to require masks is “an additional measure to help minimize spread of COVID-19 and help raise the overall health and safety level inside the airport environment,” the TSA said.

“TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process.” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said.

Justice Department Moves to Drop Criminal Case Against Michael Flynn, Drawing Criticism

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department dropped its criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, citing documents detailing how FBI officials planned to handle a January 2017 interview with Flynn.

The decision to recommend that a judge dismiss the case drew immediate criticism from legal experts and Democrats, who raised serious questions about the motivations of the DOJ and Attorney General William Barr.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian diplomat and even cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

In documents filed Thursday in federal court in Washington D.C., the Justice Department said, “The Government has concluded that the interview of Mr. Flynn was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn,” NBC News reports.

“The Government is not persuaded that the January 24, 2017 interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue,” the filing said.

The decision follows the release of an internal review into the handling of the case. Flynn’s lawyers claimed the review shows Flynn had been entrapped into lying when FBI agents interviewed him.

Trump applauded the DOJ’s recommendation.

“I didn’t know that was happening at this moment. I felt it was going to happen just by watching and seeing like everybody else does,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

“He was an innocent man,” he said of Flynn. “He is a great gentleman.”

The move was “outrageous,” chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said.

“The evidence against General Flynn is overwhelming. He pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. And now a politicized and thoroughly corrupt Department of Justice is going to let the President’s crony simply walk away,” Nadler said in a statement.

Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, who responded to the DOJ’s actions by saying “This is not justice,” urged Justice Department lawyers not to resign.

“DOJ lawyers of integrity will be tempted to resign over today’s motion to dismiss the Flynn case,” McQuade tweeted. “My advice is to please stay. We need you instead of those who might replace you.”

The recommendation still needs to be approved by Judge Emmet Sullivan.