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AG Sessions Hires Personal Attorney As Russia Investigation Heats Up

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing in January.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing in January.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It was only a matter of time.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who failed to disclose meetings with a top Russian official during his confirmation hearing, has retained a personal attorney.

The Washington Post reports that Sessions’ new attorney is Washington lawyer Charles Cooper, a longtime friend in Washington. 

Also this week, Trump’s personal attorney hired a personal attorney for himself.

When Sessions testified last week before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Cooper was sitting behind the attorney general.

“I do represent the Attorney General, but, as with all clients, do not comment on confidential client matters,” Copper wrote in an email to the Post.

Cooper, a partner with Cooper & Kirk, declined to say why he was retained by Sessions, whose normally sharp memory gets fuzzy when asked about meeting with top Russian officials.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Cooper is “the attorney general’s longtime friend and counsel.”

Cooper even assisted Sessions during his confirmation hearing in January.

Video: Border Patrol Agent Shoots Mexican Teen While He’s Lying Down

    Antonio Elena Rodriguez was fatally shot by a Border Patrol agent. Antonio Elena Rodriguez was fatally shot by a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Newly released video shows a Border Patrol agent firing 13 of 16 shots at a 16-year-old Mexican while he was lying facedown on the ground dying.

The video was played during a U.S. District Court hearing Monday for Border Patrol Agent Lonnie Swartz, who fired 16 shots through the border fence in Nogales, Ariz., at Antonio Elena Rodriguez, who was on the Mexican side, the Arizona Republic first reported. 

Rodriguez died.

Swartz, who was on the scene responding to a smuggling incident, appeared to be firing his gun while Rodriguez was lying on the ground and barely moving.

Rodriguez was shot in the head back and arms while he was on the ground, expert witness James Tavernetti said.

Swartz, who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder, said he fired his weapon in response to people throwing rocks at him from the Mexican side of the border.

Swartz’s trial is scheduled for October.

His attorneys are asking a judge to prevent the video from being shown during the trial because, they argue, the video evidence is unreliable. District Judge Raner Collins has not made a decision yet.

Philip Celestini Named SAC of Intelligence Division at FBI Washington Field Office

Philip Celestini

Philip Celestini

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Philip Celestini, who served as section chief in the Cyber Division at FBI headquarters, has been named special agent in charge of the Intelligence Division in the FBI Washington Field Office.

Celestini joined the FBI in 1992 in the Charlotte Division.

In 2006, Celestini transferred to the Baltimore Division where he served as the Joint Terrorism Task Force coordinator and squad supervisor.

He was later promoted to supervisory senior resident agent of the Rockville, Md.,  RA, where he oversaw criminal and national security investigations in metropolitan Washington and western Maryland.

Celestini starts his new post on July 10.

DEA Raid in California Nets Enough Fentanyl to Kill All of Illinois

Synthetic opioid tablets

Synthetic opioid tablets

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA, following a long-term investigation, seized a record-breaking amount of fentanyl and secured enough evidence for a federal indictment against three alleged traffickers in San Diego.

Those charged with possession of 44.1 kilograms of the deadly synthetic opiate are Jonathan Ibarra, 45, Hector Fernando Garcia, 46, and Anna Baker, 30, according to the Times of San Diego.  They face up to life in prison and $10 million in fines.

The nearly 100 pounds of fentanyl is enough to kill the entire state of Illinois, Courthouse News reports

Fentanyl is one of the leading causes of opioid deaths in the U.S. because it is up to 100 times more potent than heroin. A dose as small as 3 milligrams could kill 9,475 people.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Refuses to Release Comey’s Trump Memos to Media Because of Ongoing Probe

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has declined Freedom of Information Act requests from several media outlets asking for copies of the memos that fired FBI Director James Comey wrote following President Trump’s one-on-one meetings with the bureau boss before he was terminated.

Comey revealed the existence of the memos when he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8.

Those memos could be critical evidence to the special counsel team that is investigating whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey and allegedly directing him to drop an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

In denying the FOIA request, the FBI responded that the records were exempt from disclosure because of “pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding relevant to those responsive records, and the release of the information in these responsive records could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”

Former AG Eric Holder Mulls Run for President in 2020 As He Fights Trump’s Agenda

Former AG Eric Holder

Former AG Eric Holder

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Outraged by the actions of Donald Trump, former Attorney General Eric Holder is leading the legal fight against the president and is even considering running for president in 2020.

“Up to now, I have been more behind-the-scenes,” Holder told Yahoo News in an exclusive interview about his plans. “But that’s about to change. I have a certain status as the former attorney general. A certain familiarity as the first African-American attorney general. There’s a justified perception that I’m close to President Obama. So I want to use whatever skills I have, whatever notoriety I have, to be effective in opposing things that are, at the end of the day, just bad for the country. 

“Now is the time to be more visible,” Holder added. “Now is the time to be heard.”

Holder traveled to California to speak in favor of legislation SB 54, also known as the California Values Act, which is designed to intervene in the Trump administration’s effort to force cash-strapped local police departments to help federal authorities deport undocumented immigrants.

Holder, who was one of President Obama’s closest friends and appointees, has been serving as outside counsel to the California legislature.

Holder said he attended Monday’s press conference “to dramatize there issue, to raise the consciousness of people, to help the legislation along.”

Investigators Now Probing Role of Michael Flynn’s Business Partner

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal investigation is targeting ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn and one of his former business partners over payments they received by three Russian companies and a Netherlands-based company controlled by a Turkish businessman.

The investigation is designed to determine whether the payments from foreign clients to Flynn’s now-inactive Flynn Intel Group violated the law, sources knowledgeable of the investigation told Reuters.

What’s new is the discovery that Flynn’s business partner, Bijan Kian, has become a subject of the widening investigation.

Neither of the men’s attorneys returned calls for comment.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is running the investigation, is part of an FBI probe into Flynn’s consulting firm lobbying on behalf of Turkey, for which it was paid $530,000 by Inovo. Flynn’s firm never properly disclosed the money or relationship.

Trump’s Attorney Contradicts Himself And President on Investigation

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s attorney repeatedly denied the president is under investigation before saying twice “he’s being investigated” and then denying he said it moments earlier during a contentious interview on “Fox News Sunday.” 

Confused?

So was host Chris Wallace, whose refusal to let the attorney, Jay Sekulow, get away with contradictory statements about the investigation led to a tense back-and-forth.

Sekulow, who set out Sunday to deny the president is under investigation, said Trump fired FBI Director James Comey last month “based on numerous events, including recommendations from his attorney general and the deputy attorney general’s office.”

“So, he’s being investigated for taking the action that the attorney general and deputy attorney general recommended him to take, by the agency who recommended the termination. So that’s the constitutional threshold question here,” Sekulow said.

When Wallace pointed out that Sekulow had just contradicted himself by acknowledging Trump was under investigation, the president’s attorney accused the host of “putting words in my mouth, when I’ve been crystal clear that the president is not and has not been undeyinvestigation.”

Wallace noted that the “tape will speak for itself.”

The contradictions really began Friday, when Trump tweeted, “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt!”