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Special Counsel Taps FBI Official Who Oversaw Hillary Clinton Investigation

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The senior FBI official who oversaw the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation has been tapped to help manage the special counsel probe into Russia’s suspected meddling in the presidential election.

Peter Strzok will join a 25-member team assembled by special counsel Robert Mueller, CNN reports

Strzok played a major role in the beginning of the Russia investigation last summer.

The team, which includes attorneys and FBI employees, have moved to southwest D.C., about a mile from the Justice Department headquarters.

State Department Billed Taxpayers $15,000 for Rooms at Trump Hotel

U.S. Department of State headquarters in Washington D.C.

U.S. Department of State headquarters in Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump and his family continue to profit from using the president’s property for non-political events.

The State Department shelled out more than $15,000 on 19 rooms at the new Trump hotel in Vancouver, where the family held a grand opening of the tower in late February, the Washington Post reports.

The Post, under a Freedom of Information Act request, obtained a heavily redacted invoice from the U.S. Consulate General in Vancouver.

The State Department, which provides security and logistical assistance,  has declined to comment.

Government officials have complained that Trump is using tax dollars for protection at the president at one of his private companies.

AG Sessions Wants to Resurrect Anti-Drug Program D.A.R.E

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to resurrect the anti-drug program D.A.R.E, despite evidence that it’s ineffective.

While speaking at the D.A.R.E training conference in North Texas on Tuesday, Sessions defended the program as an effective way to prevent drug use among young adults, the New York Daily reports

“D.A.R.E. is, I think, as I indicated, the best remembered anti-drug program today,” Sessions said. “In recent years, people have not paid much attention to that message, but they are ready to hear it again.”

D.A.R.E. , which was founded in Los Angeles in 1983 and later criticized for its alleged failure to prevent young people from using drugs.

“D.A.R.E. does not work to reduce substance use. The program’s content, teaching methods, and use of uniformed police officers rather than teachers might each explain its weak evaluations,” the National Criminal Justice Reference Service said in a 1998 report to Congress.

Sessions countered that the program has provided effective results in schools nationwide. s

“We know it worked before and we can make it work again,” the AG said.

Homeland Security: Program Protecting Young Immigrants May Be Illegal

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal program that protects young immigrants from deportation is likely illegal, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Hispanic lawmakers on Wednesday.

Kelly met behind closed doors with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to address former President Obama’s Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrival Program, or DACA, which protected hundreds of thousands of young people who entered the U.S. as children, the Associated Press reports. 

A group of attorneys is urging the president to phase out the program.

When Trump was running for president, he pledged to “immediately end” the DACA program. But his position has softened since he became president, saying his administration won’t target people protected by DACA.

Other Stories of Interest

Trump’s FBI pick: Russia Probe Is No Witch Hunt, And Comey Is No ‘Nut Job’

Christopher Wray testifies during his confirmation hearing to become the next FBI director.

Christopher Wray testifies during his confirmation hearing to become the next FBI director.

If Donald Trump was hoping to find a loyalist or political puppet to replace fired FBI Director James Comey, the president nominated the wrong person.

Pledging he would resign before caving to political pressure, Christopher A. Wray was candid, direct and unafraid to challenge the president’s unsubstantiated attacks on the intelligence community during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I will never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law and the impartial pursuit of justice,” Wray testified. “Period. Full stop.”

Wray, a former senior Justice Department official also defended Comey and Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to investigate allegations that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

To discredit the growing and evolving investigations, Trump routinely depicts intelligence officials as politically driven scrooges bent on driving him out of the White House. He’s called Comey a “nut job” and painted Mueller as an unscrupulous opportunist.

Wray defended them both.

“I have worked closely with Director Mueller in many past government services,” Wray testified. “I view him as a consummate straight-shooter and somebody I have enormous respect for.”

Wray’s firm insistence that he run the FBI without political influence appeared to convince many Democrats to support his nomination.

Read the Damning Emails Between Trump Jr. And Rob Goldstone

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Following the explosive report that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-backed attorney for compromising information on Hillary Clinton, the president’s eldest son released damning emails that show he was tickled to get information that could harm the Democratic presidential candidate.

Here are the full emails:

June 3, 2016:

Emin (Agalarov, a real estate tycoon and Russian pop star represented by Goldstone) just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting.

The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras (a Moscow-based developer with close ties to Putin) this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.

What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?

I can also send this info to your father via Rhona [presumably Rhona Graff, Trump’s longtime executive assistant], but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.

Trump Jr’s response to Goldstone:

Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?

June 6, 2016, Goldstone to Trump:

Let me know when you are free to talk with Emin by phone about this Hillary info – you had mentioned early this week so wanted to try to schedule a time and day. Best to you and your family.

Trump Jr. to Goldstone:

Rob could we speak now?

Goldstone to Trump Jr.:

Let me track him down in Moscow. What number he could call?

Goldstone to Trump Jr.:

He’s on stage in Moscow but should be off within 20 minutes so I am sure can call.

Trump Jr. to Goldstone:

Rob thanks for the help.

June 6, 2016, Goldstone to Trump Jr.:

Hope all is well. Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and the Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow for this Thursday. I believe you are aware of the meeting – and so wondered if 3pm or later on Thursday works for you? I assume it would be at your office.

Trump Jr. to Goldstone:

How about 3 at our offices? Thanks Rob appreciate you helping set it up.

Goldstone to Trump Jr.:

Perfect … I won’t sit in on the meeting, but will bring them at 3pm and introduce you etc. I will send the names of the two people meeting with you for security when I have them later today.

Trump Jr. to Goldstone

Great. It will likely be Paul Manafort (campaign boss) my brother in law [Jared Kushner] and me. 725 Fifth Ave 25th floor.

June 8, 2016, Goldstone to Trump Jr.:

Good morning. Would it be possible to move tomorrow meeting to 4pm as the Russian attorney is in court until 3 I was just informed.

Trump Jr. to Goldstone:

Yes Rob I could do that unless they wanted to do 3 today instead … just let me know and I’ll lock it in either way.

Goldstone to Trump Jr.:

They can’t do today as she hasn’t landed from Moscow. 4pm is great tomorrow.

Meet Rob Goldstone, the Putin Ally Who Set Up Secret Trump-Russia Meeting

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Rob Goldstone, a music publicist with ties to Russia, has been thrust into the spotlight over the recent discovery that he arranged a previously undisclosed meeting between Donald Trump’s campaign and a lawyer with Kremlin ties.

The June 2016 meeting, first publicized several days ago, is considered a potential smoking gun that may threaten Trump’s presidency.

So who is Goldstone?

It appears Donald Trump first met Goldstone, a British-born former tabloid reporter and president of Oui 2 Entertainment, during the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, an event that had been co-owned by the now-president. At the time, Goldstone was representing one of the pageant’s performers, Emin Agalarov.

Following the pageant, Agalarov and her family began negotiating a deal with Trump to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, a project that never happened because Trump was launching his 2016 presidential election.

Goldstone acknowledged on Monday that he had helped facilitate the now-notorious June meeting between Trump’s inner circle and his “client in Moscow,” Agalarov, one of Russia’s most popular stars and a real estate tycoon who has been compared to Trump. The elder Goldstone has close personal ties to Putin, who awarded the real estate tycoon numerous lucrative state building contracts.

For its part, the Trump campaign denied colluding with Russia, but email records and interviews indicate Trump Jr. believed the meeting was about obtaining compromising information on Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s Pick for FBI Director to Face Tough Questions During Confirmation Hearing Today

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee for FBI director, Christopher A. Wray, will face a host of challenging questions Wednesday morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing.

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

And the timing couldn’t be worst.

Wray’s testimony comes in the thick of an increasingly evolving investigation by the Justice Department and congressional members into whether Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia in an attempt to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning.

Adding pressure to that investigation is the recent revelation that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer who the president’s son was told wanted to hurt Clinton’s chances of winning.

Senators are expected to grill Wray, a former federal prosecutor in President George Bush’s administration, about his opinions of the investigation.

Since Trump admitted in a TV interview that he fired then-FBI Director James Comey over what the president called a “witch hunt” to destroy his political career, senators also are expected to question how Wray plans to deal with Trump’s interference in federal investigations.

The 50-year-old nominee, who spent years as a high-powered defense lawyer who represented Trump loyalist and New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie.

Veterans law enforcement officials who have worked with Wray described him as an objective, fair legal mind who isn’t easily influenced by political pressure.