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Special Counsel Mueller Taps Stephen Kelly to Serve As Liaison to Capitol Hill

US CapitolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has added another expert to his team.

Stephen Kelly, who formerly served as the longtime congressional affairs chief for the FBI, has been brought on as liaison to Capitol Hill, The Daily Beast reports. 

“Stephen Kelly is exactly who I would hire if I wanted to share as little information with Congress as possible,” a Hill staffer said.

Kelly will serve an important role because several Capitol Hill committees are investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election, and the similar probes have caused officials to butt heads now and again.

Not everyone is pleased.

“We think he’s an asshole,” said a source from a Capitol Hill committee that works closely with the Mueller probe. “It’s unfortunate because the relations with Mueller’s legal team are otherwise strong. The lawyers on each side have worked in the same space for years.”

Other Stories of Interest

Report: Border Security Is Tougher Than Ever Because of Ramped-Up Enforcement

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

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

Read more »

KellyAnne Conway, Donald Trump Jr. No Longer Receiving Secret Service Protection

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s eldest son and another top White House official will no longer be protected by the Secret Service, the New York Times reports.

Saying he wants more privacy, Donald Trump Jr. elected to forgo Secret Service protection.

It’s unclear whether the rest of his family has elected to forgo protection.

Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to the president, also will no longer be protected by the Secret Service, which has been run over budget because of the president and his family’s penchant for traveling and going on vacations.

The Times reports:

Like other members of his family, Mr. Trump’s personal and business travel — often to far-flung Trump properties and projects around the world — has triggered frequent criticism and careful documentation by Democrats and other watchdog groups. Those groups argue that taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for the agency’s highly trained agents to accompany the younger Mr. Trump. The size of the first family had forced the Secret Service to shift agents who would otherwise be working on criminal cases or investigations into protective duty.

The Secret Service does not decide who falls under its protection. In the case of the president’s immediate family, the agency is required by law to provide round-the-clock security unless it is told not to and typically errs on the side of caution.

Ms. Conway’s protection is not covered by statute. The president approved her protection after Ms. Conway received several threats in the administration’s early days. That threat assessment has since changed, the official briefed on the decision said.

Ohio Man Busted for Impersonating DEA Agent to Collect Parking Fees

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 21-year-old nightclub security worker in Cleveland has been charged with robbery and impersonating a DEA agent.

Malik Ross, of Youngstown, is accused of sporting a DEA badge and charging people $20 to watch their cars, Cleveland.com reports. 

It’s still unclear where Ross obtained the badge and whether it was real.

Police are still investigating.

The investigation began when three people told police they were approached by Ross and charged $20 to park. One motorist said Ross indicated he was a DEA agent who was providing security for the lot. 

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Wiretapped Trump Campaign Chair Manafort Beginning in 2014

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The federal government may be closer to proving Donald Trump’s campaign was encouraging Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been under FBI surveillance beginning in 2014, CNN reports.

The surveillance included wiretapping and other types of searches that began in 2014, when Manafort was under investigation for work he did involving a group of Washington consulting firms for the former ruling party of Ukraine.

The wiretapping was permitted under a secret order authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court.

The information collected prompted concerns by the FBI that Manafort was encouraging Russia to meddle in the election. In 2016, the FBI obtained a second warrant because of suspicions that Manafort was acting as an agent of a foreign power. That warrant involved the bureau’s investigation into suspected collision between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.

FBI Interviews Former Sputnik Reporter To Determine If Agency Should Register as Foreign Agent

sputnik_logo-svgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI suspects the Russian web-based media outlet Sputnik was a propaganda machine that spread misinformation during the 2016 election in an attempt to get Donald Trump elected.

To further understand the internal working of Sputnik, the FBI interviewed one of its former employees – an American journalist named Andrew Feinberg.

The FBI interviewed Feinberg for two hours on Sept. 1 in hopes of learning more about the inner workings of the suspected propaganda machine, CBS News reports

So what did the FBI want to know?

“They wanted to know how I ended up there, you know, who paid me, who signed my checks, what a typical day was like,” Feinberg told CBS News national security correspondent Jeff Pegues. “Who I took my orders from … they wanted to know everything.”

Agents believe Sputnik was involved in “covert intelligence operations” and “paid media trolls.”

Feinberg said he was fired after just four months for refusing to write a story that he believed was wrong.

“They only will run a story … when it meets a certain criteria that the angle that the story takes is one that meets their worldview,” he said.

“The worldview of Vladimir Putin?” Pegues asked.

“Well that’s where the money’s coming from,” Feinberg said.

FBI Reportedly Identifies Suspect in Attempted Extortion of Kevin Hart

Actor Kevin Hart, via Wikipedia

Actor Kevin Hart, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has identified a suspect in the extortion attempt against actor Kevin Hart, TMZ reports

The suspect is accused of contacting the comedian and demanding a “multi-million dollar” sum to prevent the “sexual provocative” video that allegedly features the Hart from going public.

The video prompted Hart, 38, to admit to “a bad error of judgment” in an Instagram post in which he appeared to admit to cheating on his pregnant wife. Hart also said he was targeted by someone for “financial gain.”

The iPhone video shows a man believed to be Hart in a sexually provocative position with a woman at a club and later under the covers in a bedroom.

Fans of Insane Clown Posse Rally Against FBI’s Classification of Them as ‘Gang’

A Juggalo/facebook

A Juggalo, via facebook

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

More than 1,000 fans of the rap duo Insane Clown Posse rallied in Washington D.C. on Saturday to protest the FBI’s classification of them as a gang.

The band’s fans, known as Juggalos, protested in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

The band filed suit against the Justice Department in an attempt to reverse the FBI’s designation of the fans as a gang. The lawsuit says the Juggalos as a peaceful community.

The FBI classified the group’s fans as a “loosely organized hybrid gang” in 2011.