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DOJ’s Review of the Origins of the Trump Investigation Evolves into Criminal Probe

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump has long claimed, with no evidence, that the Russia investigation was a hoax and a “witch hunt.”

Now, two years later, the Justice Department’s inquiry into the origins of the probe has evolved into a criminal investigation.

Attorney General William Barr has turned over the investigation to John H. Durham, who will serve as the prosecutor with subpoena power over testimony and documents and the power to convene a grand jury, The New York Times reports.

In other words, the Justice Department is investigating itself over what Democrats say is unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

Durham, a longtime prosecutor known for investigating CIA torture, will determine whether intelligence and law enforcement agencies acted within the law when they investigated possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Barr’s review of the Russia investigation began in May, when Barr said he had discussions with intelligence and law enforcement officials that led him to question the legitimacy of the investigation. At one point, Barr even described law enforcement’s actions as “spying” on the Trump campaign.

In an interview with Fox News in May, Barr said he had been pursuing questions about whether “government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale” to investigate the Russia link.

Since then, no credible evidence has been made public to suggest law enforcement acted inappropriately in investigating Trump’s campaign.

Honduran Woman Claims ICE Agent Raped Her for 7 Years, Impregnating Her 3 Times

Courtesy of ICE

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Honduran woman living in Connecticut has accused an ICE agent of repeteadly raping and impregnating her for seven years, threatening to deport her if she didn’t do what he said, according to a federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges ICE Agent Wilfredo Rodriguez impregnated her three times and raped her up to four times a week.

“My only comment is that my client had a choice, cooperate with ICE or be deported with her family,” George Kramer, the woman’s lawyer, said in an email to the Associated Press. “She remains in a very fragile psychological state. She is not only seeking compensation for the physical and emotional damage she suffered but to change the way those who are cooperating with ICE are treated by those in a position of power and who often wield total control over the ability to remain in the United States.”

ICE declined to comment on the case but said Rodriguez no longer works at the agency.

According to the lawsuit, Rodriguez met the woman in 2006 and began demanding she become an informant to help deport undocumented immigrants.

A year later, she says, Rodriguez raped her at gunpoint. That was the beginning of seven years of sexual assault, the lawsuit states. During that period, she was impregnated three times and had an abortion each time.

According to the suit, she attempted suicide four times.

When Rodriguez left the agency, he warned her that “she and her family would pay” if she told authorities what happened.

She finally came forward last year when her husband applied for asylum. She confided in an agent, who suggested she consult an attorney.

Husband of Forensic FBI Photographer Called Person of Interest in Wife’s Death

Kathleen Miller, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The husband of a forensic FBI photographer from Alabama is a person of interest in the drowning death of his wife.

Authorities found 60-year-old Kathleen Miller, of Huntsville, Ala., in a shallow creek in the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina on Oct. 7.

Gregory Miller called 911 and calmly reported his wife, who had no health issues, had fallen in the creek.

“I tried to call for help. I need help,” the husband said in a 911 call obtained by WAAY-TV. “My wife has fallen in the water, and I couldn’t get her out. … I wish I could be of more help.”

The couple were camping at the park when Gregory Miller said his wife disappeared after saying she wanted to check out Santeetlah Creek. Her husband said he later discovered her body face down in the creek.

Several law enforcement agencies are investigating the case.

DEA’s ‘Take Back Day’ Removes Prescription Pills – and vaping devices – from Circulation

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Law enforcement agencies across the country will host the DEA’s Take Back Day on Saturday to help the public dispose of unwanted, unused or expired prescription drugs.

The idea is to help prevent pill abuse and theft by allowing people to anonymously drop off drugs.

It’s the 18th event in nine years. In the previous events, law enforcement officials collected a total of 11.8 million pounds of pills.

“The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue,” the DEA says. “According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.”

For the first time, people can drop off their marijuana vaping devices.

“Concerns have been raised across the United States over illnesses and death caused by vaping and the high youth vaping initiation rates,” a DEA media release states. “In an effort to support a healthy lifestyle and energetic population, especially amongst America’s youth, DEA is committed to doing all it can to help safely dispose of vaping devices and substances.”

To find a drop-off site, click here.

Ex-Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen Reveals Why She Resigned from Trump Administration

Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s third Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen revealed Tuesday why she resigned from the department in April: Trump did not like the word “no.”

“What led me to resign is there were a lot of things that there were those in the administration who thought that we should do, and… it became clear that saying no and refusing to do it myself was not going to be enough,” Nielsen in an interview with PBS NewsHour’s Amna Nawaz at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington D.C.

Nielsen’s replacement in April, Kevin McAleenan, is resigning at the end of the month as Trump looks for a fifth Homeland Security secretary in less than three years.

When pressed about the controversial child separation policy, Nielsen defended her actions, saying her job was to “enforce the law, not to separate families.”

But Nielsen admitted the policy was enacted before determining how to reunite the migrant families.

“What I regret is that we haven’t solved it, and what I regret was that that information flow and coordination to quickly reunite the families was clearly not in place and that’s why the practice was stopped through an executive order,” Nielsen said.

Trump’s purported top picks for the next Homeland Security secretary – Mark Morgan, acting CBP commissioner, or Ken Cuccinelli, acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – are ineligible by a federal law governing agency succession, White House officials told the president.

Trump Administration Wants to Collect DNA of Migrants for Massive FBI Database

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Trump administration wants to begin collecting DNA from asylum-seekers and other migrants detained near the Mexican border in an effort to compile a massive FBI database.

The Justice Department on Monday issued amended regulations that would require DNA collection for most migrants stopped by immigration officials near the border, NPR reports.

Under the proposed regulation, immigration officials would collect DNA information on nearly 750,000 migrants a year.

The new rule is subject to a 20-day comment period.

The idea is to add the biometric data to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System.

“The proposed rule change would help to save lives and bring criminals to justice by restoring the authority of the Attorney General to authorize and direct the collection of DNA from non-United States persons detained at the border and the interior by DHS, with the ultimate goal of reducing victimization of innocent citizens,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a statement Monday.

Immigration rights groups criticized the proposal.

“It’s hard for me to believe that a woman who is on a journey of 1,000 miles in broken flip-flops with a two-year-old on her hip, doing everything she can and sacrificing everything … is going to be deterred by DNA collection,” said Henry Sias, a Philadelphia-based civil rights lawyer who represents asylum-seekers.

Trump’s Search for Fifth Homeland Security Secretary Hits Snag

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s search for a fifth Homeland Security secretary in less than three years just hit a major snag.

Two of his purported top picks are ineligible by a federal law governing agency succession, White House officials told Trump, according to reports in Politico and The Wall Street Journal.

Trump was gunning for Mark Morgan, acting CBP commissioner, or Ken Cuccinelli, acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Immigration hawks have endorsed Cuccinelli.

White House officials gave Trump a list of other potential candidates who could take over as DHS head after acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan leaves at the end of the month. Among the names are DHS Assistant Secretary Chad Wolf, a former chief of staff of ousted DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Transportation Security Administration chief David Pekoske.

Trump has been considering Wolf to be acting secretary, Politico reports. But Wolf’s position on immigration has been considered weak.

Leading Homeland Security has been no easy task because Trump has demanded a secretary whose focus is clearly on immigration, which is only one part of the multi-faceted agency.

Suburban Detroit Parents Blame FBI for Their Son’s Death in Ukraine

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — The life and death tale of Billy Reilly is gut-wrenching. It involves his counterterrorism work online for Detroit FBI agents, penetrating radical groups under false names, and a three-year, worldwide odyssey by Oakland County parents in search of their missing son.

Wall Street Journal reporter Brett Forrest chronicles his movie-like saga. Through laborious investigative reporting and fingerprint identification, he finds that Reilly had been murdered in the Ukraine in 2015 at age 28.

The FBI insists he was not there on a bureau assignment or suggestion. William and Theresa Reilly, the parents living in Oxford, aren’t so sure.

“The FBI never directed William Reilly to travel overseas to perform any work for the FBI,” Brian P. Hale of bureau headquarters in Washington responded.


(Photo: FBI)

The Journal’s lengthy Oct. 11 story raises many questions about what the FBI knew. The agency had asked the Reillys to talk the paper out of publishing it.

Oakland University graduate

The saga began when Reilly was attending a Catholic high school after Sept. 11, 2001 and took an interest in  in Islam and the koran. Reilly went on to get a biology degree from Oakland University.

In 2010, when he was 23, the FBI came to the family house, the Journal reports. An agent said U.S. forces had raided an Al Qaeda position and found communcations from an IP address traced to the Reilly home.

Billy explained to the FBI he had found his way into restricted jihadist chat rooms. During their conversation, the agent asked Billy, who had knowledge of Arabic, if he had any interest in working with the FBI.

He said yes and became a part-timer or paid “source” for the bureau, working undercover online to unearth counterterrorism information. Forrest, the journalist, points out that sources work in a dangerous world, with little training and no government benefits “beyond an occasional paycheck and a pat on the back.”

Read more »