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Stefan A. Halper, the FBI Source at the Center of a Controversy

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s no longer a secret: Stefan A. Halper is the FBI source who assisted the Russia investigation, the Washington Post reports.  He’s at the center of a standoff between congressional Republicans and the Justice Department.

The Post describes him as a well-connected veteran of past GOP administrations who convened senior intelligence officials for seminars at the University of Cambridge in England. The Post goes on to write:

In the summer and fall of 2016, Halper, then an emeritus professor at Cambridge, contacted three Trump campaign advisers for brief talks and meetings that largely centered on foreign policy, The Washington Post reported last week.

At some point that year, he began working as a secret informant for the FBI as it investigated Russia’s interference in the campaign, according to multiple people familiar with his activities.

Border Patrol Agent in Montana Admits He Asked For ID Because Women Were Speaking Spanish

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two U.S. citizens were stopped and questioned by a Border Patrol agent last week at a northern Montana gas station in the town of Havre because they were speaking Spanish, KRTV reports.

Ana Suda, a native of Texas who lives in Havre,  stopped with a friend at a Town Pump store to buy milk and eggs. They were speaking Spanish when a Border Patrol agent asked them for their documents, the station reports.

Suda said she paid for her items, gave the agent her identification and started recording video of the incident in the parking lot.

When Suda asked why he wanted to see their identification, the agent said, “Ma’am, the reason I asked you for your ID is because I came in here and saw that you guys are speaking Spanish, which is very unheard of up here.”

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.”