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Trump Accuses Mayor of Endangering ICE Agents, But Attacks Are Rare

An ICE agent.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions accused Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf of endangering federal agents by warning the public about a forthcoming immigration sweep.

“Here’s my message to Mayor Schaaf: How dare you?” Sessions said Wednesday in Sacramento. “How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of law enforcement just to promote a radical open-borders agenda?”

Thursday, Trump said, “What she did is incredible and very dangerous … She really made law enforcement much more dangerous than it had to be.”

During the four-day enforcement operation, no ICE agents were hurt. In fact, ICE “has experienced relatively few line-of-duty deaths and assaults,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The Chronicle wrote:

According to federal records, a handful of ICE officers are injured in assaults each year, on average. James Schwab, an agency spokesman in San Francisco, said agents face “the same dangers as any other law enforcement officer out in the field.”

No ICE officers were injured or killed in line-of-duty assaults in 2016, the last year in which FBI data are available. In 2015, four officers were injured and none killed in assaults. Seven officers were injured in assaults and none killed in 2014, records show.

However, the FBI records do not appear to reflect some on-duty deaths. Absent, for instance, was the death of San Francisco-based deportation officer Brian Beliso, who according to the agency died of a heart attack he suffered during a foot pursuit in Redwood City on June 8, 2016. And a special agent in New Orleans, J. Scott McGuire, died Jan. 24. 2016, after being injured in a hit and run in Miami Beach, the agency stated on its website.

The reported injuries to ICE officers were among the lowest in federal law enforcement, FBI figures show. In 2016, 484 Customs and Border Protection officers were assaulted. The Bureau of Indian Affairs saw 504 assaults, while the Marshals Service saw 266 assaults.

Other Stories of Interest

Protester Hurls Russian Flag at Manafort After He Pleads Not Guilty in Special Counsel Case

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A protester threw a Russian flag at former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Thursday as he was leaving a courthouse after pleading not guilty to tax and fraud charges in the second case brought against him by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The protester, standing outside of a federal court building in Alexandria, Va., held a sign that read “blood money” and shouted “Traitor!” as Manafort left the courthouse, NBC News reports

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III placed Manafort on home confinement and required him to wear a GPS bracelet pending his trial date of July 10.

In a related case, Manafort last week pleaded not guilty and is set for a Sept. 17 trial.

Because of his age, Manafort faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison on numerous charges related to his business dealing in eastern Europe.

Unless Manafort strikes a deal with prosecutors, the former high-paid political consultant is on track to become the first person to be tried in connection with Robert Mueller’s investigation

Manafort’s longtime business partner, Rick Gates, is among three former Trump aides who have pleaded guilty to assortment of charges and have agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team of prosecutors. Gates, who also served on Trump’s campaign, is expected to provide information about crimes he said he and Manafort committed as business partners.

Gates and Manafort were both charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, tax fraud and money laundering stemming from lobbying and consulting work related to Ukrainian politicians who are strong allies of Russia.

Two weeks ago, the men’s Russian-connected attorney Alex Van der Zwaan was charged with misleading the FBI about work he did for Manafort and Gates. 

Last month, 13 Russians were charged in a sweeping indictment alleging they waged a propaganda campaign to help Trump get elected. 

The other former Trump associates who have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors are Trump’s former national security adviser Mike Flynn and ex-campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

In May 2017, Mueller was appointed to investigate Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. So far, more than 100 charges have been filed against a 19 people and three companies.

AG Sessions’ Fiery Attack on California’s Immigration Laws Sets Off War of Words

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions set off an unusually heated battle between California and the Trump administration after filing suit against the state over laws that impede the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

During a contentious, sometimes misleading speech in California’s capital, Sacramento, on Wednesday, Sessions accused California lawmakers of recklessly putting its residents at risk by obstructing federal immigration laws, the New York Times reports

California Gov. Jerry Brown responded by saying the Trump administration was “full of liars” and that Sessions was “basically going to war against the state of California.”

Brown added that Sessions was engaging “in a political stunt” with “wild accusations” meant to sow discord over immigration.

During Sessions’ speech, he said the lawsuit is designed to overturn laws designed to obstruct federal immigration agents from operating there.

Politifact.com called out Sessions for making a number of misleading comments. 

Records Reveal Geek Squads’ Relationship with FBI Is Deeper Than Previously Reported

Best Buy, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI has paid Best Buy’s Geek Squad employees to act as informants for a decade, much longer than previously reported.

Records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act by the Electronic Frontier Foundation reveal that the FBI has been working with Geek Squad employees since at least 2008. 

The FBI declined to say whether it has similar relationship with other electronics repair companies.

The records raise serious questions about whether the relationship between the bureau and Geek Squad employees violate the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures.

At issue is whether the FBI’s payments to the employees for turning over child pornography prompted Geek Squad workers to search computers beyond what was required to make repairs.

The bureau paid at least “eight FBI informants at Geek Squad City” between $500 and $1,000 each for helping disclose child pornography.

Obstruction Case Against Trump Strengthens After He Asked Witnesses about Interviews

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump questioned two key witnesses in the special counsel probe about discussions they had with investigators, ignoring his attorneys’ advice to avoid conversations that could be considered obstruction of justice.

The New York Times reports that special counsel Robert Mueller is aware of the conversations as his team investigates growing evidence that Trump interfered in the  Russia probe.

One of those conversations was with White House counsel Don McGhan, whom Trump reportedly urged to issue a statement denying the president had asked him to  order Mueller’s dismissal. But McGhan pressed back and reminded Trump that he had asked him to order Mueller’s termination.

In another conversation, Trump grilled his former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, about his interview with Mueller’s team.

Those conversations were revealed to Mueller in interviews with witnesses who considered the interactions as troublesome.

The interactions are likely to be used as further evidence that the president obstructed justice – an allegation first leveled against Trump after he fired then-FBI Director James Comey.

Mueller Probes Growing Evidence of Back-Channel Between Trump, Russia

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller is honing in on a secret meeting between a Trump associate and a Russian official shortly before the president’s inauguration in what increasingly looks like an effort to create a back-channel between the Kremlin and the incoming White House administration, according to a new report.

The meeting on a small island off the eastern coast of Africa was between Erik Prince, the founder of the private military contractor Blackwater USA, and an official with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Washington Post reports.

The information came from a witness who told Mueller’s team that the meeting was intended to establish future relations between Washington and Moscow.

In testimony before Congress, Prince, who’s the younger brother of Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, denied attending the meeting as a representative of the Trump administration, insisting the meet-up was part of his role as a businessman.

George Nader, a Lebanese American businessman, helped organize the meeting and shared that information during testimony before a grand jury gathering evidence as part of Mueller’s probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump continues to deny ties to the Kremlin, suggesting that allegations of collisions are a “hoax” and “witch hunt” perpetuated by Democrats and others who want to bring the president down.

Republicans Call for New Special Counsel to Probe FBI’s Surveillance of Trump Aide

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the House Judiciary Committee in November 2017.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Two prominent House Republicans are urging Attorney General Sessions to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether the FBI improperly obtained a warrant to spy on former Trump aide Carter Page.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy pressured Sessions in a letter to appoint a special counsel to review Republican allegations that the FBI misled a federal judge to obtain a surveillance warrant for Page, a suspected Russian agent.

“We think this is a very serious matter regarding conduct by the FBI and by some in the Department of Justice that calls for the appointment of a special counsel who will have subpoena and prosecutorial powers,” Goodlatte told reporters in his Capitol office, Politico reports.

Democrats blasted the request as a diversion.

“These are blatant attempts to distract from and undermine the credibility of Special Counsel [Robert] Mueller,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. “Where there is no crime, there is no criminal investigation for a second special counsel to manage.”

The House Intelligence Committee released a confidential, Republican-drafted memo last month, alleging abuse by the FBI. Democrats later disclosed a rebuttal memo, saying the bureau acted appropriately.

Mueller’s Investigation of Trump Broadens to Influence-Peddling by Foreign Governments

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

George Nader, an adviser to the United Arab Emirates with close ties to various associates of President Trump, is cooperating with prosecutors and testified before a grand jury last week as part of the evolving special counsel investigation of Russia’s role in the  2016 presidential election.

Nadar’s cooperation comes at a critical time for special counsel Robert Mueller, who has expanded his investigation beyond Russia’s election interference and now appears to be examining whether foreign governments funneled money to the Trump campaign to influence the president’s policies, the New York Times reports. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/06/us/politics/george-nader-special-counsel-mueller-cooperating-seychelles.html

Nader, a frequent White House visitor and a Lebanese-American businessman who served as an adviser to the UAE’s ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, was stopped and questioned by FBI investigators after landing at Washington Dulles International Airport in January. Nader was in the U.S. to meet with Trump and his associates as part of a celebration of the president’s first year in office at Mars-a-Lago, the president’s Florida getaway estate.

Mueller’s team has questioned potential witnesses about allegations that Nader helped funnel money from the UAE to Trump’s presidential campaign to buy political influence. Foreign entities are barred from making donations to political candidates in the U.S.