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FBI Agents Slam Trump for Peddling Conspiracy Theory about Epstein’s Death

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump drew criticism and repulsion from current and retired FBI agents after he retweeted an unfounded conspiracy theory suggesting former President Bill Clinton was linked to the death of Jeffrey Epstein.

Despite mounting questions about how Epstein managed to kill himself so soon after being on suicide watch, no evidence has surfaced to give any conspiracy theory merit.

FBI agents told Business Insider that Trump’s decision to retweet the conspiracy theory to his 63 million followers was irresponsible and dangerous.

“The Epstein case was hypercharged from the get-go,” one current FBI agent, who requested anonymity, said. “The last thing investigators need is the president of the United States fanning the flames with these bullshit theories that have no basis in reality.”

Frank Montoya Jr., a recently retired FBI agent, called Trump’s actions “crazy talk.”

“This would be a bad TV melodrama if it weren’t real,” he added. “The world is watching. Trump may be successfully fooling a third of America with his sociopathic antics, but everyone else … sees how naked the Emperor is, and they are exploiting the advantage.”

Trump has a history of peddling baseless conspiracy theories, from suggesting President Obama was not born in the U.S. to feeding into the idea that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia may have been murdered in his bed. Since becoming president, he’s suggested elections were rigged and that there’s “a deep state” conspiracy to drive him from office.

Those conspiracy theories make it more difficult for the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies to do their jobs and undermines confidence in investigations, the agents said.

Acting CBP Commissioner Says ICE Raids in Mississippi Weren’t ‘Raids’

Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan insisted Sunday that the arrests of about 680 people during raids at Mississippi workplaces last week were not “raids.”

“I think words matter. These aren’t raids. These are targeted law enforcement operations,” Morgan said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” disputing the definition of a raid.

“In this case, this was a joint criminal investigation with ICE and the Department of Justice targeting work site enforcement, meaning companies that knowingly and willfully hire illegal aliens so that, in most cases, they can pay them reduced wages, exploit them further for their bottom line,” Morgan said Sunday. “That’s what this investigation was about — a criminal investigation.”

FBI Investigates Epstein’s ‘Apparent Suicide’ Amid Mounting Conspiracy Theories

Jeffrey Epstein.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating the death of billionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein after he was found unresponsive due to an “apparent suicide” in a Manhattan jail.

The Justice Department’s Federal Bureau of Prisons indicated in a letter Saturday that the FBI was investigating.

Prison employees found Epstein unresponsive in his cell early Saturday morning and began “life-saving measures.” He was taken to a hospital “for treatment of life-threatening injuries, and subsequently pronounced dead by hospital staff,” the letter states.

Many questions have been raised about how Epstein could have committed suicide in a federal jail after he had been placed on “suicide watch” in late July, leading to mounting conspiracy theories. Jail officials told the New York Times that Epstein was taken off suicide watch a few days before his death.

When an inmate is taken off suicide watch, prison officials told several news outlets that the detainee is often placed in a cell with another inmate. Epstein was alone in his cell early Saturday morning.

Democrats immediately called for a congressional investigation.

“With the obvious end to criminal proceedings against Epstein, it is important that the House U.S. Committee on Oversight and Reform begin its investigation,” Rep. Louis Frankel tweeted.

Epstein was in jail awaiting trial after he had pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges. Dozens of girls had accused him of sexually abusing them.

On the day of his death, additional court documents revealed allegations that he sent an underage girl to meet and have sex with two former politicians as part of an alleged sex ring.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Story of Pablo Escobar

Internal Watchdog Investigates Trump Administration’s Secret Database of Journalists, Activists, Lawyers

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security’s internal watchdog is investigating the federal government’s secret surveillance of journalists and activists along the U.S. and Mexico border.

NBC 7 in San Diego revealed the database after receiving leaked documents that showed a list of surveillance targets that included 10 journalists, three attorneys and 46 immigration advocates.

Homeland Security’s acting Inspector General Jennifer Costello confirmed in a letter that “criminal investigators, program analysts, and attorneys” are investigating the secret database, which was part of the Department of Defense’s so-called “Operation Security Line.”

“We plan to review the leaked…document in order to determine why it was created, what it is used for, and what happened to the people named in it,” Costello wrote in the letter. “We also anticipate reviewing other specific allegations of targeting and/or harassment of lawyers, journalists, and advocates and evaluate whether [Customs and Border Protection’s] actions complied with law and policy.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Ct., had harsh words for Trump.

“Putting journalists, attorneys, and activists on a secret government watch list may be a favorite move of one of President Trump’s autocratic friends, but it is not a tactic we should tolerate in our democracy,” Blumenthal said.

Man Charged with Assaulting 3 Secret Service Agents After Hopping White House Fence

Stock photo by Secret Service.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A man has been arrested and charged with assaulting three Secret Service agents after he was accused of illegally entering the White House grounds.

Police say the man hopped a temporary security barrier  last week and was approached by three agents, NBC 4 Washington reports.

He’s accused of kicking an agent in the eye, grabbing another agent’s radio and gun belt and fighting with a third agent who forced the man’s surrendering by pulling out a taser.

“The individual disobeyed verbal commands of the officer to not enter the restricted area, and the suspect began to run,” a Secret Service spokeswoman said. “The suspect was placed under arrest after the arresting officer fought with him as he was actively resisting arrest and had grabbed the officer’s duty belt.”

The agents were treated at the scene for scrapes and bruises.

The man pleaded guilty. But under the plea agreement, the government in December dismissed the case after he complied with all the conditions in the case.

Fired Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe Sues Bureau and Justice Department

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testifies before Congress.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For the second time in a week, a high-profile, fired FBI agent is suing the FBI and Justice Department.

Fired acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe is suing the Justice Department and FBI over his firing last spring, asking that he be reinstated as deputy director of the FBI so he can earn a full pension, CNN reports. McCabe was fired just two days before his retirement date so he wouldn’t be eligible to collect a pension.

McCabe’s lawsuit, filed Thursday, claims he was wrongfully discharged.

Earlier in the week, fired FBI agent Peter Strzok filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department and bureau, claiming he was fired because of “unrelenting pressure from President Trump and his political allies in Congress and the media.”

The suit claims Strzok’s termination was politically motivated and violated two constitutional amendments, which he was deprived of by being fired.

See McCabe lawsuit

White House Rejected DHS Strategy to Combat White Supremacy-Fueled Terrorism

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The White House repeatedly dismissed efforts by Homeland Security to focus more attention on combating the rise in domestic terrorism, which includes white supremacy cases, multiple sources told CNN.

“Homeland Security officials battled the White House for more than a year to get them to focus more on domestic terrorism,” one senior source close to the Trump administration told CNN. “The White House wanted to focus only on the jihadist threat which, while serious, ignored the reality that racial supremacist violence was rising fast here at home. They had major ideological blinders on.”

Homeland Security officials have been pushing for more than a year to make domestic terrorism a higher priority as part of the National Counterterrorism Strategy, but the White House has resisted every step of the way.

“Ultimately the White House just added one paragraph about domestic terrorism as a throw-away line” in the National Counterterrorism Strategy, according to a senior source involved in the discussion.

So as the FBI continues to warn about the rise of white supremacy-fueled domestic terrorism, the final version of the strategy is overwhelmingly focused on Islamic terrorism. A single paragraph of the strategy mentions “other forms of violent extremism.”

One former officials said he’s not surprised the White House would prioritize domestic terrorism “because the preponderance of it involves white supremacy and that’s not something this administration is comfortable speaking out against, until the other day by the president and even that was pretty hedged.”

Also this week, a former FBI counterterrorism agent said his former colleagues are reluctant to aggressively investigate white nationalist extremists because they are part of Trump’s base.

“I believe Christopher A. Wray is an honorable man, but I think in many ways the FBI is hamstrung in trying to investigate the white supremacist movement like the old FBI would,” the former agent, David Gomez, told The Washington Post. “There’s some reluctance among agents to bring forth an investigation that targets what the president perceives as his base. It’s a no-win situation for the FBI agent or supervisor.”

Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric is fueling hatred and making the country more dangerous, Democratic Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro told MSNBC.

“This was the deadliest attack on the Latino community in United States history,” Castro said. “The president blamed the media, the internet, video games. He did not look in the mirror and blame himself.”