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Professor Who Admitted to FBI Burglary in Philadelphia Dies

A Washington Post story on what the stolen documents revealed.

A Washington Post story on what the stolen documents revealed.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the seven conspirators who revealed a dirty campaign of intimidation by the FBI in March 1971 by stealing a cache of documents in burglary of an bureau office in suburban Philadelphia died on Nov. 12 at his home in Philadelphia.

John C. Raines, a Temple University religion professor, was 84, the Washington Post reports

During the burglary, the seven conspirators stole documents that showed a campaign of intimidation by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover against civil rights and antiwar activists, communists and other dissenters.

One of the documents revealed an that agents were directed to increasingly interview perceived dissenters “to get the point across there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox.”

The burglars, who called themselves the Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI, disseminated the stolen documents to newspapers.

The leaked reports lead to the formation of the Senate Church Committee, which revealed widespread abuses among intelligence agencies.

Raines kept the explosive secret for 43 years before revealing his identity to a Washington Post journalist, Betty Medsger, who wrote a book-length account of the break-in, “The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI.”

The reported called Dr. Raines’ actions “one of the most powerful acts of resistance in the history of the country.”

Other Stories of Interest

Clinton Compares Trump to a Dictator over Prosecution Threats of Uranium Deal

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hillary Clinton slammed President Trump and his administration for threatening to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate her over the Uranium One deal, saying the threats are a dangerous slippery slope that could lead to authoritarianism.

“I regret deeply that this appears to be the politicization of the Justice Department and our justice system,” Clinton told Mother Jones during an interview Wednesday. “Taking myself out of it—this is such an abuse of power. And it goes right at the rule of law.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave the green light to the Justice Department to determine whether Clinton or her aides violated the law over allegations related to the Clinton Foundation and the sale of a uranium company. If so, the Justice Department must decide whether to appoint a special counsel to pursue potential charges.

“If they send a signal that we’re going to be like some dictatorship, like some authoritarian regime, where political opponents are going to be unfairly, fraudulently investigated, that rips at the fabric of the contract we have, that we can trust our justice system,” Clinton said. “It will be incredibly demoralizing to people who have served at the Justice Department, under both Republicans and Democrats, because they know better. But it will also send a terrible signal to our country and the world that somehow we are giving up on the kind of values that we used to live by and we used to promote worldwide.”

Appointment of Second Special Counsel to Probe Clinton Could Backfire

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former and current Justice Department officials are worried about the political fallout if Attorney General Jeff Sessions appoints a second special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton.

During heated testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Sessions appeared to back away from his public suggestion that he may appoint a special counsel over an Obama-era uranium company deal and recent news that Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Convention funded the salacious dossier that outlines Trump’s ties with Russia.

The appointment of a second prosecutor could stoke distrust of the Justice Department’s independence since President Trump and Republicans are looking to distract from the current special counsel investigation of the president’s associates and their ties to Russia. 

“To have the winning side exploring the possibility of prosecuting the losing side in an election — it’s un-American, and it’s grotesque,” said John Danforth, a former special counsel who investigated the FBI’s role in a violent standoff with a cult in Waco, Tex., according to the Washington Post. “The proliferation of special counsels in a political setting is very, very bad.”

Peter R. Zeidenberg, who once served as deputy special counsel in the probe of former White House aide Lewis “Scooter’’ Libby, said the appointment of a second special counsel will backfire.

I think the vast majority of people at DOJ would be completely disgusted and demoralized by it,’’ said Zeidenberg, referring to the Justice Department. “They don’t like feeling that they are political tools to be used by the president.’’

NYT: Republicans’ Handling of Sessions Testimony Was Irresponsible

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump's campaign and Russia.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

By Editorial Board
The New York Times

The House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, at which Attorney General Jeff Sessions faced more than five hours of questions, was supposed to be about oversight of the Justice Department.

The committee’s Republicans appeared to have missed that memo. Instead, they toggled between sweet-talking Mr. Sessions — “This is so great to have you here today,” “I sure appreciate your service” — and demanding that he appoint a special prosecutor to investigate a raft of allegations, most half-baked if not entirely raw, against Hillary Clinton, her campaign for president and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

From the supposedly crooked deal that Mrs. Clinton engineered to sell off America’s uranium to the Russians, to the Clinton-Democratic National Committee-F.B.I. conspiracy behind the dossier on Donald Trump, to the tarmac meeting in 2016 between Mr. Clinton and President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Loretta Lynch — no Republican talking point was left unspoken.

It’s not surprising that, after 10 months of the chaotic, scandal-strewn Trump presidency and a steady flow of revelations about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, Republicans in Congress are desperate to talk about something, anything, else. What better way to distract from the investigation of the current special counsel, Robert Mueller, than to call for a criminal investigation of the president’s defeated opponent?

Committee Republicans asked the Justice Department to appoint another special counsel back in July, and appeared frustrated that it hasn’t happened yet. “It sure looks like a major political party was working with the federal government” to gin up a dossier and get the F.B.I. to “spy on Americans associated with President Trump’s campaign,” Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio said. “Doesn’t that warrant naming a second special counsel?”

To read more click here. 

Late-Night Comedians Poke Fun at Sessions’ Selective Memory

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikipedia.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ hazy, selective memory during testimony to the House Judiciary Committee created a lot material for late-night comedians.

When asked questions about Trump’s campaign and ties to Russia, Sessions often responded, “I don’t recall.”

“There were so many meetings about collusion, I’ve got the collusion confusion. It’s like brain fever with the vapors at the same time. I do believe,” “The Late Show” Stephen Colbert said.

“I’m starting to get a little worried here. Is something wrong with Jeff Sessions? Did he get hit by a big coconut on his way into the chamber?” he added.

“The Tonight’s Show” host Jimmy Fallon joked about Sessions’ memory.

“At one point he was questioned about his stance on marijuana. You know, ’cause it’s a little odd when a guy’s anti-weed, but seems to forget every conversation he’s every had,” Fallon said.

Trevor Noah, host of the “Daily Show,” illustrated how Trump’s international policies allowed the China to become the most powerful nation in the world, surpassing the U.S.

Senate Panel Approves Trump’s Nominee to Lead Homeland Security

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, was approved Tuesday by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, setting the state for a full Senate vote.

The committee approved the nomination with a vote of 11-4, the Hill reports. 

Plans to confirm the nominee last week were delayed because of nearly 200 follow-up questions from lawmakers.

Nielsen, the White House deputy chief of staff. is expected to proceed to a full Senate confirmation in the coming weeks.

If confirmed, she will lead an agency responsible for protecting America’s borders from terrorists and cybersecurity threats and heading up disaster relief efforts.

The department has been without a permanent leader since John Kelly vacated the position to move to the White House as Trump’s chief of staff at the end of July.

“Our nation is facing constantly-evolving threats, making it all the more important for strong, permanent leadership at DHS. Ms. Nielsen’s prior experience at the department, background in cybersecurity, and tenure with General Kelly will serve her well in this challenging position,” committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said in a statement Tuesday evening. “I hope the Senate will take up Ms. Nielsen’s nomination as quickly as possible.

3 Takeaways from Sessions’ Testimony about Trump-Russia Contacts

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump's campaign and Russia.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, said his hazy memory is to blame for any inconsistent responses he has given to Congress about contacts between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russians.

Here are highlights of his testimony:

1. Sessions now remembers attending a March 2016 meeting with George Papadopoulos.

Under Oath in October, Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had no recollection of contacts between the Trump campaign and Kremlin-tied Russians.

But when he heard about the arrest of Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos this month, Sessions said he suddenly remembered the aide proposing a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Frankly, I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports,” Sessions told the committee, adding that he believes he advised Papadopuolos to scrap a Trump-Putin meeting. 

2. Sessions dismissed accusations that he committed perjury.

“In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer all of your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory,” Sessions testified. “But I will not accept, and reject, accusations that I have ever lied. That is a lie.”

Sessions’ failure to recall key facts about ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials drew heavy criticism.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., listed numerous times Sessions said insisted “I do not recall” while testifying before Congress in the past.

Sessions said the “chaos” of running a presidential campaign makes it easy to forget details about certain events.

“All of you have been in a campaign, but most of you have not participated in a presidential campaign,” Sessions said.

3. Sessions shocked many Republicans when he refused to promise the appointment of a new special counsel to investigation Hillary Clinton and her foundation.

Sessions said there was “not enough basis” to appoint a special counsel, prompting a heated exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who asked what it would take to make the appointment.

“You can have your idea, but sometimes we have to study what the facts are, and to evaluate whether it meets the standards it requires.”

Jordan said it “looks like” there was enough evidence for a special counsel, pointing to allegations that Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Convention funded the salacious dossier that outlines Trump’s ties with Russia.

Sessions responded: “I would say ‘looks like’ is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel.”

Nominee to Lead Homeland Security Faces Senate Panel Vote Today

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, could be closer to confirmation.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the appointment, but Democrats have indicated they want additional hearings, the Washington Post reports.

Democrats have more questions following a Washington Post report that revealed White House officials were pressuring acting DHS Secretary, Elaine Duke, over an immigration decision. The Democrats wrote a letter to the panel’s chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson, outlining their concerns. 

Johnson has not indicated responded to the letter, but it appears the panel’s Republican majority is ready to approve the nomination of Nielsen, the White House deputy chief of staff. 

If approved, Nielsen would proceed to a full Senate confirmation in the coming weeks.

Other Stories of Interest