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Justice Department Finds No Evidence That Trump Or His Tower Were Wiretapped

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s claims in March that his predecessor, Barack Obama, wiretapped his phones are not backed by evidence, the Justice Department said in a court filing.

The discovery came in a Freedom of Information case involving the government transparency watchdog, American Oversight, which was seeking information about surveillance of Trump, his New York City tower and his presidential campaign, Bloomberg reports

“Both FBI and NSD confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets,” the Justice Department filing said.

Trump made the bold claim on Twitter, and it appears his source was Breitbart, a conservative media outlet that has become a propaganda tool for the alt-right.

“Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory,” Trump wrote on Twitter. ”Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

The Justice Department wants the FOIA case to be dismissed since the records don’t exist.

Justice Department to Retry Woman Charged for Laughing During Sessions’ Confirmation Hearing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department plans to retry a woman who was arrested and charged for laughing during the conformation hearing of Jeff Sessions.

A judge dismissed the original charges against Desiree Fairooz in July, saying “laughter alone was legally insufficient to convict someone of disorderly or disruptive behavior on Capitol grounds, or disrupting Congress.”

Fairooz laughed when Sen. Richard Shelby said Sessions had a “clear and well-documented” record of “treating all Americans equally under the law.” Noting Sessions’ history on civil rights, Fairooz said she laughed because the claims were so ridiculously false.

Fairooz has rejected a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty, so the 61-year-old is headed back to trial, the Advocate reports. 

The judge in the case vacated the conviction but granted a motion for a new trial, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 13.

Other Stories of Interest

Mueller, Congressional Committees Clashing Over Investigations into Russian Meddling

US CapitolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The special counsel investigation into Russia’s election meddling is beginning to clash with three different congressional probes of the same issue.

CNN reports that special counsel Robert Mueller was blocked from obtaining the Senate Intelligence Committee’s transcript of an interview with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. 

The various congressional committees aren’t sharing a lot of information, and Mueller is keeping lawmakers “out of the loop,” CNN reported.

CNN wrote:

The previously undisclosed fight, described to CNN by multiple sources, underscores the new challenges as congressional committees and Mueller’s operation head into a more intense phase of their parallel — and sometimes, conflicting — investigations into Russian election meddling and any collusion with Trump associates.

There are three committees on Capitol Hill competing for information and witnesses — and there is little, if any, communication among them, even as congressional officials say they all are preparing to intensify the pace of their inquiries this fall. While the Hill investigations into Russia’s meddling have been underway since the beginning of the year, the next few months could be the most consequential in terms of hearing from witnesses and gathering documents, sources say.

Happy Labor Day From ticklethewire.com

Weekend Series on Crime History: Bobby vs. Hoff

Trump’s Lawyers Told Mueller the President Didn’t Commit Obstruction of Justice

President Trump, via White House

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s legal team met with special counsel Robert Mueller and argued the president didn’t obstruct justice by firing then-FBI Director James Comey.   

Trump’s lawyers insisted the president has the constitutional right to fire the FBI director for any reason and that Mueller was an admitted leaker, the Wall Street Journal reports

Comey said he was fired after he refused to back off an investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Mueller is investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the presidential election.

Mueller Taps IRS for Help with Trump-Russia Investigation

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is now special counsel for the Russia investigation.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is now special counsel for the Russia investigation.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller has enlisted the IRS to help investigate whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to meddle in the presidential election.

The IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit, known as CI, is an investigative group that specializes in financial crime, from tax evasion to money laundering.

One of Mueller’s top deputies, Andy Weissmann, headed the Justice Department’s investigation of Enron.

Mueller likes working with CI.

“From the agents, I know everyone has the utmost respect for both Mueller and Weissmann,” Martin Sheil, a retired IRS Criminal Investigations agent, told the Daily Beast. 

“The FBI’s expertise is spread out over so many statutes—and particularly since 9/11, where they really focused on counterintelligence and counterterror—that they simply don’t have the financial investigative expertise that the CI agents have,” Sheil continued. “When CI brings a case to a U.S. Attorney, it is done. It’s wrapped up with a ribbon and a bow. It’s just comprehensive.”

News that Mueller is working with CI came one day after it was discovered that Mueller enlisted the help of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Border Patrol Rescued 450 People Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas

Border Patrol boat, via CBP

Border Patrol boat, via CBP

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol has rescued about 450 people in the Houston area in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

John Morris, chief of staff in South Texas, told the Associated Press that agents “absolutely 100% here for rescue and safety” and are not enforcing immigration laws. 

Morris said Border Patrol deployed 35 boats to navigate the flooded streets. The boats came from stations along the Rio Grande.

The agency drew criticism for failing to suspend highway checkpoints in Texas as the storm was moving across the state.