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Border Patrol Agents Warn Trump Wall Will Drain Vital Resources at Checkpoints

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

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents are questioning President Trump’s proposed border wall, saying the plan would draw resources away from the agency’s already understaffed at busy checkpoints.

Agents who inspect vehicles and scrutinize drivers at the Laredo North checkpoint said Trump’s contention that a wall is the most effective way to reduce illegal immigration ignores the importance of checkpoints, The Associated Press reports

The AP wrote:

The Trump administration’s latest budget proposal includes $1.6 billion to start building a wall that the administration has estimated will cost $18 billion. It asks for funding to hire more Border Patrol agents. It also includes $33 million to build a new Border Patrol station in Freer, Texas, northeast of Laredo. But it doesn’t directly address needs at other checkpoints, and it proposes zeroing out new spending on tactical infrastructure like roads used by border agents and replacement border fencing.

The proposal also would end funding for efforts to find and destroy border tunnels built by cartels to get under existing barriers. Border security experts have warned that constructing a wall will lead to smugglers trying to dig more tunnels.

Some Democrats are calling for an investment in scanners, interceptor boats, radio towers and other improvements.

“They’re taking money away from proven law enforcement systems to put it into this 14th century solution,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat who sits on the US House subcommittee directing homeland security funding.

The CBP declined to comment on the wall proposal.

Third Trump Campaign Aide Pleads Guilty in Special Counsel Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former Trump campaign aide on Friday became the third associate of President Trump to plead guilty to conspiracy and lying to investigators in connected to the quickly evolving special counsel investigation.

Rick Gates pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to investigators as part of a deal to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s team of prosecutors in exchange for leniency. Gates is believed to have incriminating evidence against his longtime business partner and former Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort, who has pledged to fight the charges.

Later Friday, Manafort was charged for a second time in one day, the latest charge claiming he was secretly paying former European politicians to lobby on behalf of Ukraine.

Gates admitted he was part of a conspiracy to conceal tens of millions of dollars that he and Manafort received for lobbying and consulting work related to Ukrainian politicians who are strong allies of Russia.

Earlier in the day, Gates and Manafort were charged in a 32-count indictment that comes on top of fraud and money-laundering charges filed in October against Manafort and Gates, both of whom played a prominent role in Trump’s campaign and were the first charged as part of Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference.

The indictment does not mention work they did for Trump’s campaign, but Gates played a prominent role in the campaign.

The charges come just two days after Alex Van der Zwaan, a prominent, Russian-connected attorney, was charged with misleading the FBI about work he did for Manafort and Gates. 

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

The other 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.

Gates will follow Mike Flynn, Trump’s short-tenured national security adviser, and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos in pleading guilty to charges filed by Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to the Trump operation.

Weekend Series on Crime History: A Documentary on Watergate

Prominent Trump Campaign Aides Charged Again by Special Counsel Mueller

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his longtime business associate Rick Gates are facing potentially steeper prison sentences after a grand jury on Thursday unveiled a 32-count indictment alleging numerous tax and bank fraud charges.

The 32-count indictment comes on top of fraud and money-laundering charges filed in October against Manafort and Gates, both of whom played a prominent role in Trump’s campaign and were the first charged as part of Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference.

In the latest charges, the longtime political consultants are accused of a multiyear scheme to evade taxes and commit bank fraud using money they acquired from a  pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

The indictment does not mention work they did for Trump’s campaign.

The charges come just two days after Alex Van der Zwaan, a prominent, Russian-connected attorney, was charged with misleading the FBI about work he did for Manafort and Gates. 

Gates, who has gone through several different lawyers, was expected to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors as part of a deal for leniency, but it’s unclear whether he plans to still work with Mueller’s team.

Top Trump Advisers Mull Departure over Lingering Feud with President

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Two top advisers to Donald Trump may soon resign from the White House amid longstanding tensions with the president. 

National Security Adviser H.R. McCaster and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly have grown increasingly frustrated with Trump and are considering leaving the administration, four senior administration officials told Reuters

But if the past is any indication, the administration officials said the tensions could blow over. 

The most recent sign of conflict arose over the weekend, when Trump criticized the three-star general for saying the special counsel investigation shows “incontrovertible” evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

McCaster is considering returning to the Pentagon, officials said. 

A rift between Trump and Kelly grew over the chief of staff’s handling of the resignation of White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who was accused by two-ex wives of domestic violence. 

Turnover has plagued Trump’s administration since he became president in January 2017. 

Former FBI Employee Charged with Stealing from Bureau

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Gus Lee Moore, a former staff member in the FBI’s Charlotte office, was indicted Thursday on charges of stealing from the bureau.

The indictment alleges Moore stole “only and other things of value” in excess of $1,000 between August 2016 and January 2017, the Charlotte Observer reports

A federal warrant was issued for Moore’s arrest.

Details behind the allegations have not yet been publicly disclosed.

In a separate case in July 2017, Moore was arrested on three counts of shoplifting in South Carolina.

Trump Threatens to Pull ICE from California over ‘Lousy Management Job’

An ICE agent.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump threatened to withdraw Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents from California for what he claimed was a “lousy management job” in combatting illegal immigration.

“You know what, I’m thinking about doing it,” Trump said at a roundtable to address gun violence after last week’s Florida school shooting, CNN reported. 

“We’re getting no help from the state of California. Frankly, if I pulled our people from California, you would have a crime nest like you’ve never seen in California. All I’d have to do is say ‘ICE, Border Patrol, leave California alone,'” he said during meeting with local and state officials at the White House.

“You would see crime like nobody has ever seen crime in this country. And yet we get no help from the state of California. They are doing a lousy management job,” Trump continued. “They have the highest taxes in the nation. And they don’t know what’s happening out there. Frankly it’s a disgrace.”

Some cities in California have refused to work with ICE over Trump’s crackdown on immigration.

It’s unclear whether Trump plans to follow through on his threat, which would leave a key border state without federal protection.

Homeland Security did not publicly respond to Trump’s threat.

Trump Blasts Own AG Sessions over Failure to Probe Obama’s Role in Russian Meddling

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing in January.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump once again blasted his own attorney general in a tweet Wednesday, blaming Jeff Sessions for failing to investigate the Obama administration’s role in Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“Question: If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren’t they the subject of the investigation? Why didn’t Obama do something about the meddling? Why aren’t Dem crimes under investigation? Ask Jeff Session!,” the president urged his 48 million followers, originally misspelling his AG’s name.

The tweet was just the latest attack on the social media platform blaming everyone but the Russians for election interference, which led to the indictment last week of 13 Russians accused of waging a disinformation campaign to help Trump get elected.

Trump also berated Sessions over four days on Twitter, calling his AG “beleaguered” and claiming Sessions was “very weak” on “Hillary Clinton’s crimes.”

Trump has attacked Sessions since he recused himself from the Russia investigation, allowing the deputy attorney general to appoint a special counsel to probe election interference and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.