Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

June 2021
S M T W T F S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



News Story

Hard For Robert S. Mueller to Avoid the Limelight

download

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Robert S. Mueller III, the stoic former director of the FBI, never seemed like the kind of guy who enjoyed basking in the glow of the limelight. His successor, James Comey, seemed far more comfortable testifying on the Hill, holding press conferences.

But these days, as Mueller takes on the job of special counsel, bumping up against a president who’s not shy about speaking up and trash talking, it’s hard to avoid the limelight.

The latest comes in the form of a Time magazine cover with Mueller’s G-Man looking photo and the words: “The Lie Detector. Someone’s not telling the truth.”

Time magazine’s David Von Drehle writes:

Trump has traded the anguished Hamlet Comey for the adamantine Marine Robert Mueller, the Justice Department ramrod who remade the FBI after 9/11. As special counsel appointed in the wake of the Comey firing, Mueller has one job, no deadline and bottomless resources, and he is assembling an all-star team of veteran prosecutors whose expert backgrounds go beyond counterintelligence to include money laundering, corporate fraud and the limits of Executive Branch power.

Sensing the trouble he had dug himself into, Trump tweeted, “You are witnessing the single greatest Witch hunt in American political history.” Perhaps all Presidents feel the same way if they find themselves under the withering gaze of a high-profile investigator. Whether called a “special prosecutor” in the Richard Nixon era or “independent counsel” in the Bill Clinton years or “special counsel” today, the specific powers change, but the overall effect is quite the same. Trump’s predecessors could tell him that such investigations are sometimes survivable, but they are not controllable. Trump is at the front end of political cancer treatment: live or die, it will be a draining, miserable experience.

The thing is, Trump can tweet about Mueller and the investigation all he wants. Mueller won’t tweet back and isn’t likely to engage in any public dialogue contesting anything the president says.

Mueller, 72, the former Marine, is on a mission.

And only one thing, short of illness or death, will stop him: Getting fired.

FBI Informant Committed Fraud While Working Undercover on Terrorism Sting

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI placed an awful lot of trust in a Florida man who had just been released from prison for committing fraud.

Soon after Mohammed Agbareia got out of prison and moved to Palm Beach County, the FBI hired him to work as an undercover informant on a high-profile terrorism sting, the Sun Sentinel reports. 

Despite his past legal troubles, the FBI considered him a “national security asset” and extolled his “usefulness as a provider of intelligence of the FBI.”

Yet, Agbareia continued to commit fraud almost immediately after leaving prison, even as he was providing undercover information to the FBI, according to prosecutors.

The new charges allege Agbareia resumed operating a similar fraud scheme that landed him in prison in 2007 and didn’t stop until his arrest on June 21.

The FBI declined to comment.

Trump’s Nominee for FBI Director to Face Tough Questions about His Past

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It’s safe to say President Trump’s nominee for FBI director, Christoper Wray, will face tough rounds of questions during his confirmation hearing before the Senate.

After all, some senators and legal experts have accused the president of obstructing justice by firing former director James Comey in retaliation for investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. Special counsel Robert Mueller and his high-powered team of lawyers is investigating those very allegations.

Wray, whom Trump called “a man of impeccable credentials,” is likely to be hammered about why he removed from his law firm’s website in January the fact that he represented an undisclosed American energy executive who was under criminal investigation by the Russian government. 

Wray’s law firm, King & Spalding, represents the Russian energy firm Rosneft, which has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the International Business Times reports

Wray also is likely to be grilled about his representation of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a longtime Trump supporter, in the Bridgegate scandal. Christie has declined to say whether he recommended Wray to Trump.

And several civil liberties advocates are expressing concerns about Wray.

“Christopher Wray’s firm’s legal work for the Trump family, his history of partisan activity, as well as his history of defending Trump’s transition director during a criminal scandal makes us question his ability to lead the FBI with the independence, even-handed judgment, and commitment to the rule of law that the agency deserves,” American Civil Liberties Union National Political Director Faiz Shakir said in a statement.

Emergency Camp for Migrants Shuts Down After Border Patrol Raids

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Saying they can no longer guarantee a temporary shelter for migrants in Arizona, a humanitarian group closed a medical aid camp for people who cross the border.

The decision comes after Border Patrol agents raided the camp and made arrests, NPR reports

“Our clinic space being compromised will directly lead to more suffering and more death in this desert,” said aid worker Geena Jackson.

The camp is about 15 miles of the Mexico border and includes water stations, medics and makeshift shelters. A handmade sign now warns migrants that the camp is closed.

Under previous presidents, migrant camps were rarely raided. But President Trump’s administration has done away with past practices in an aggressive crackdown on illegal immigration.

Manafort Second Trump Campaign Official to Retroactively Register As Foreign Agent

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Paul Manafort, who served as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman and is under investigation for his Russian connections, has retroactively registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent.

In the DOJ filing Tuesday, Manafort said he was a foreign agent when he conducted consulting work for a Ukrainian political party that previously pro-Russian, CBS News reports

Manafort acknowledged he advised a Ukrainian party on how to interact with U.S. government officials, and his firm, DMP, received more than $17 million from the Party of Regions for his consulting work from 2012 to 2014.

Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who is under investigation for his ties to Russia, also retroactively registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent. 

Manafort resigned from Trump’s campaign in August when the Associated Press reported on his firm’s lobbying actions.

Manafort had denied colluding with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Other Stories of Interest

Ex-DEA Agent Pleads Guilty to Stealing Fraud Proceeds

dea-logo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former DEA agents pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing fraud proceeds that she had been assigned to recover on behalf of fraud victims, the Justice Department said.

Artemis Papadakis, 57, of Richmond, Calif., pleaded guilty in Southern California before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jill L. Burkhardt to an information charging her with theft by a government official.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 11.

Papadakis was  stationed by the DEA in Nicosia, Cyprus, between 2008 and 2014, to help the U.S. Government recover the proceeds of an American fraud scheme that had been frozen in the banking system in northern Cyprus.

When Papadakis was transferred from Cyprus to San Francisco in June 2014, the funds had not yet been recovered.

Papadakis admitted that she was told not to pursue the matter regarding the funds following her transfer. But when she was in Cyprus in October 2015 on personal business, Papadakis took possession of $310,000 of the funds without notifying anyone at the DEA or in the U.S. Government.

According to the plea agreement, Papadakis mailed approximately $230,000 of those funds from Cyprus to her California home  in California and later took possession of an additional $20,000 of those funds from a third party when he visited her in the U.S., a Justice Department press release said.

Papadakis admitted that she hid the $250,000 in her flower pots at her home in California. She also admitted that in February 2016 she handed over the $250,000 to the U.S. government under the false cover story that she had just received it via an unexpected package from Cyprus.

 

Trump Allies Launch Propaganda War Against Special Probe of Russia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of high-powered attorneys begin digging deeper into Russia’s suspected interference in the 2016 election, President Trump and his supporters are doing everything they can to smear and undermine one of the most important political investigations since Watergate.

Over the past few days, Trump apologists and allies have stepped up their attacks on the intelligence community and Mueller, a former FBI director who earned an impeccable reputation as a nonpartisan, fair-minded investigator. The idea is to discredit the probe by calling it a “witch hunt” before any conclusions have even been drawn by the special counsel and his team.

Greater America Alliance, a nonprofit ally of Trump, has begun a propaganda campaign in a 45-second ad.

Greater America Alliance, a nonprofit ally of Trump, has begun a propaganda campaign in a 45-second ad.

Take the pro-Trump nonprofit, Greater America Alliance, which has raised nearly $29 million for the campaigns 0f Republican House and Senate candidates and Trump during last year’s campaign, Newsweek reports

The nonprofit in May hired conservative commentator and YouTube provocateur Tomi Lahren to “execute communications and messaging strategies.”

Lahren stars in a political ad entitled “Witch Hunt,” which targets Mueller and his team of investigators. She suggests they are part of “the Washington establishment” that will do anything to take down Trump, who has been accused of colluding with Russians and obstruction of justice for firing former FBI Director James Comey after he refused to drop Russia-related investigations.

“Only in Washington could a rigged game like this be called independent,” Lahren concludes.

Lahren is just one example of a high-profile Trump supporter attempting to undermine the special investigation as biased and agenda-driven.

Trump Officially Nominates Wray to Replace Ousted FBI Director

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump has officially nominated Christopher Wray to replace ousted FBI Director James Comey.

The White House on Monday sent its formal nomination of Wray to the Senate, which will decide whether to approve the nomination.

Wray, a former assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush, released a statement through the Justice Department, touting his experience working with federal investigators.

“From my earliest days working with agents as a line prosecutor to my time working with them at the Department of Justice in the aftermath of 9/11, I have been inspired by the men and women of the FBI – inspired by their professionalism, integrity, courage, and sacrifice for the public.” Wray said. 

“If confirmed, it will be a privilege and honor to once again work with them.  America faces grave threats both here and abroad, and the FBI, in concert with its federal, state, and local partners, continues to work steadfastly to prevent and hold accountable those responsible for these threats.” 

Trump’s termination of Comey has led to allegations that the president tried to obstruct justice to end the Russia-related investigation.