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James Clapper: Trump Leading a ‘Very Disturbing Assault on Independence of the Department of Justice’

James Clapper on CNN

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Echoing what former acting Attorney General Sally Yates said the other day, ex-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper tells CNN Monday that President Donald Trump is  leading “a very disturbing assault on the independence of the Department of Justice.”

“When the President — this president or any president — tries to use the Department of Justice as kind of a private investigatory body, that’s not good for the country,” Clapper told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

Clapper was reacting to Trump’s demand over the weekend that the Justice Department “look into” whether the FBI or Justice Department planted a spy in his presidential campaign following reports that the bureau dispatched a confidential source to speak with some campaign aides about possible ties to Russia.

Clapper tells CNN the FBI’s use of confidential informants is a  “a legitimate activity, an important one, on the part of the FBI. They use informants and have strict rules and protocols on this.”

ATF Helping Philly Police Analyze Ballistic Evidence to Help Solve Crimes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For decades, the Philadelphia Police Department only analyzed ballistic evidence needed for trials. Other shell casings collected at crime scenes sat in evidence lockers across the city, reports NBC 10 in Philly.

Two years ago, the department collaborated with ATF to collect and analyze all casing. Now in Philly investigators analyze roughly 65,000 bullets and shell casings every year.

Authorities says it has paid off and helped solve crime.

Justice Department Directs IG to Investigate Trump’s Claim of FBI Spying on HIs Campaign

President Trump, via White House

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s the latest political storm in Washington.

The Justice Department on Monday directed, a the behest of President Donald Trump, the Inspector General to probe the president’s allegation that his campaign had been “infiltrated or surveilled” by the FBI, NBC News reports.

“The Department has asked the Inspector General to expand the ongoing review of the FISA application process to include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election,” Department of Justice spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement.

As always, the Inspector General will consult with the appropriate U.S. Attorney if there is any evidence of potential criminal conduct,” she added.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein weighed in saying “if anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action.”

While some see this as legitimate, others see it as a tactic by the Trump camp to try to discredit the Robert Mueller investigation.

 

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Crazy Don

Giuliani Says Mueller Agrees to Narrow Scope in Trump Investigation

Trump attorney and former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rudy Giuliani says special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to narrow the scope of a potential interview with President Donald Trump from five topics to two, CNN reports.

Giuliani, who has become Trump’s latest TV attorney,  tells CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day” that Mueller is not considering asking the President about his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who’s under investigation in New York over his business dealings.
Giuliani said Friday said the “the main focus we want is Russia.”

Oregon Man Convicted of Engaging in Sexual Conduct With Children At His Orphanage in Cambodia

Kingdom of Cambodia – vector map

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An Oregon man, who was a Christian missionary running an orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, was found guilty this week in federal court of  engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place, traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and aggravated sexual abuse.

Daniel Stephen Johnson, 40, Coos Bay, Ore., was charged in December 2014 after serving a one-year sentence in Cambodia for sexually abusing some of the same victims, the Justice Department said. Evidence at trial showed that Johnson was a Christian missionary who traveled between the United States and Cambodia, along with other countries in Southeast Asia.

He started an orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, that housed several Cambodian children, and over a period of years beginning in 2005, he  engaged in sexual abuse and attempted to sexually abuse at least nine children who resided at his orphanage, the Justice Department charged.  The victims ranged in age from eight to 17-years-old.

“While Stephen Johnson held himself out as a selfless missionary helping orphans in Cambodia, in reality he exploited that cover to sexually abuse the children entrusted to his care,” Acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan said in a statement. “Today’s conviction is a testament both to the courage of the victims, who traveled to the United States to provide critical testimony against their abuser, and to the steadfast commitment of our prosecutors and law enforcement partners to seeing that Johnson be held to account for his terrible crimes.”

Sally Yates: Trump ‘Tearing Down the Legitimacy’ of the Justice Department

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General fired by President Donald Trump last year, says the president’s caustic tweets aimed at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and special counsel Robert Mueller are collectively “tearing down the legitimacy” of the Justice Department, Yahoo! News reports.

Yates, speaking at the 2018 Ideas Conference hosted by the Center for American Progress on Tuesday, urged the country not to ignore Trump’s attacks on the rule of law, Yahoo! News reports.

“What I worry about is the normalization of so much that is not normal,” said Yates.

“There is a time-honored tradition at the Department of Justice, at least since Watergate, that is nonpartisan,” Yates said. “There is a wall between the Department of Justice and the White House when it comes to criminal investigations and prosecutions.”

Trump has been hammering away at that wall so often and with such ferocity, she said, “nobody’s rolling their eyes anymore,” Yahoo! reports.

 

Trump Camp Wants to Expose FBI Informant; DOJ Worries that Could Put Lives in Danger, Screw Up Other Operations

President Trump

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Trump camp continues to wage war on the FBI and the Justice Department.

His allies allies are waging an increasingly aggressive campaign to undercut the Russia investigation by exposing the role of a top-secret FBI source, the Washington Post reports, adding that the effort reached new heights Thursday as Trump alleged that an informant had improperly spied on his 2016 campaign and predicted that the ensuing scandal would be “bigger than Watergate!”

The  Justice Department and intelligence agencies have warned that publicly identifying the confidential source would put lives in danger and imperil other operations.

The Post reports:

The stakes are so high that the FBI has been working over the past two weeks to mitigate the potential damage if the source’s identity is revealed, according to several people familiar with the matter. The bureau is taking steps to protect other live investigations that the person has worked on and is trying to lessen any danger to associates if the informant’s identity becomes known, said these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence operations.