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Poll: Republicans Lost Faith in FBI Amid Investigation of Trump

fbi directorate-of-intelligence-seal-on-wall-1By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s handling of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election has spurred distrust in the bureau among Republicans, at least in Texas, according to a new poll.

The poll of 1,200 registered Texas voters found that 35% of Texas Republicans have an unfavorable opinion of the FBI, while 43% have a favorable view. About 22% had no opinion.

The results surprised many GOP officials because conservatives typically have favorable opinions of law enforcement.

“I think all of this reflects the fact that almost everything connected with Donald Trump being in the White House right now is falling into an intensely partisan field” Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas, which designed and analyzed the poll, told NPR. 

“On a deeper level, it means one more institution that is the subject of a real crisis in faith in the general public,” Henson said. “And I think it is worrisome.”

Pollsters believe the eroding support among Republicans is the result of disparaging remarks by Donald Trump and his supporters, who have blasted the bureau by suggesting it’s on a “witch hunt” to unseat the president.

Grassley Questions Independence of Acting FBI Director McCabe

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Sen. Chuck Grassley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley is joining conservative pundits and President Trump allies in attacking the credibility of acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Iowa Republican is raising questions about the independence of McCabe at a time when the FBI is investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Politico reports

Grassley suggested McCabe may have a conflict of interest because his wife received donations from a Clinton supporter, Gov. Terry McAuliffe, while running for a Virginia state Senate seat. Grassley pointed to an active investigation by the Justice Department inspector general into whether the donation should have prompted McCabe to recuse himself from the Hillary Clinton email probe.

“That evidence and the failure to recuse calls into question whether Mr. McCabe handled the Flynn investigation fairly and objectively, or whether he had any retaliatory motive against Flynn for being an adverse witness to him in a pending proceeding,” Grassley wrote.

In a series of Tweets on Thursday, Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow also raised the issue.

“The conflicts of interest are clear and the American people should not tolerate this.”

Border Patrol Agent Sentenced to 29 Months in Prison for Sexual Assault

Orlando Gomez

Orlando Gomez

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent convicted of coercing a 15-year-old girl to have sex with him in 2014 and 2015 was sentenced Thursday to 29 months in prison.

Orland Gomez, 43, of Las Cruces, was arrested in August 2016 after the victim revealed the inappropriate relationship to a relative, KVIA reports

The victim told authorities that Gomez threatened to kill himself if she didn’t have sex with him.

Gomez was convicted after pleading no contest to two counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor in the fourth degree.

The victim urged the judge to impose the maximum sentence of 36 months.

“I commend the victim in this case for the courage she demonstrated in coming forward to report this crime,” Doña Ana County District Attorney Mark D’Antonio said. “But for the courageousness of this young girl and victims like her, too many of these crimes would go unreported and unprosecuted.”

Gomez also is required to registers as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Other Stories of Interest

House Committee Strips Funding for Long-Delayed New FBI Headquarters

The FBI's current headquarters in Washington D.C.

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The long-delated project to build a new FBI headquarters just hit another major snag.

A House Appropriations subcommittee on Thursday approved rescinding $200 million for a new headquarters in Maryland or Virginia, the Baltimore Sun reports. The current headquarters has become cramped and obsolete.

By stripping the money, 11,000 new jobs also are at stake.

“It is reprehensible that House Republicans are playing politics with our national security by rescinding $200 million in funding for the new, fully consolidated FBI headquarters,” Democratic Reps. Steny Hoyer of Southern Maryland and Anthony G. Brown of Prince George’s County said in a joint statement. “House Republicans must stop delaying this project.”

Democrats are hoping to restore the funding.

GOP Senator Calls for Vote on Trump’s FBI Director Nominee by July

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is calling for the Senate to vote on President Trump’s nominee to replace ousted FBI Director James Comey by July.

Trump officially nominated Christopher Wray for the position earlier this week, but Democrats have expressed numerous concerns about the nominee.

“It’s been my intention of having the nominee before the committee during the month of July and hopefully get it done in time so that he can be confirmed before our summer break,” Grassley told reporters on Thursday. 

The Senate’s recess begins in August. 

Grassley met with Wray on Thursday to begin the process of pushing the nominee through the Senate during an already packed schedule.

Among the concerns expressed by Democrats are Wray’s involvement with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Trump ally who has declined to say whether he played a role in Wray’s nomination.

Updated: FBI Agent Indicted for Allegedly Lying about Oregon Refuge Standoff

Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was the spokesman of the occupation. Via YouTube.

Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was the spokesman of the occupation. Via YouTube.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Update: 10:15 a.m. Thursday —  FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita, a member of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) based in Quantico, Va., was arraigned Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland on three counts of making false statements and two counts of obstruction of justice.

Astarita was one of a number of FBI agents assigned to the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He was present during the shooting of Robert LaVoy Finicum on Jan. 26, 2016, in Harney County, Oregon.

Finicum was stopped by a roadblock, where he allegedly challenged officers to shoot him. He was shot and killed by state troopers while moving his hands toward his pocket, where he had a loaded weapon.

The indictment alleges, according to a Justice Department press release, that Astarita knowingly and willfully made false statements to FBI supervisory special agents, knowing that the statements were false and material to the FBI’s decision not to investigate the propriety of an agent-involved shooting.

Specifically, Astarita falsely stated he had not fired his weapon during the attempted arrest of Mr. Finicum when he knew he had in fact fired his weapon. Astarita also knowingly engaged in misleading conduct toward Oregon State Police officers by failing to disclose that he had fired two rounds during the attempted arrest. Neither round hit Finicum.

___________________________

Posted on Wednesday.

An FBI agent accused of lying about shooting at a rancher during the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon has been indicted.

Sources familiar with the case told the Oregonian that prosecutors allege the agent made a false statement with intent to obstruct justice.   

The agent, who has not yet been identified, was the subject of a yearlong investigation by the Justice Department inspector general. He will be identified in federal court on Wednesday.

As local, county and federal authorities moved in on the occupiers, the Deschutes County sheriff said an FBI agent shot twice at the spokesman of the occupiers, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, a 54-year-old Arizona ranger. 

The bullets missed, but in the chaos that ensued, state police troopers fatally shot Finicum as he reached in his pocket, where he had a loaded handgun.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the FBI agent is on leave or has been fired.

ATF: Medical Marijuana Cardholders Barred from Buying Guns

medical marijuanaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The continuing battle between states and the federal government over medical marijuana just got a lot more intense.

The ATF said Wednesday that medical marijuana cardholders are not allowed to buy guns from licensed dealers, 40/29 News reports.

Although medicinal cannabis has been approved in 29 states, marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. Under President Trump’s administration, the feds are increasing the crackdown on medical marijuana.

People who buy gun from a licensed dealer are required to disclose whether they’re an unlawful marijuana or drug user. Because marijuana is illegal federally, that means anyone who uses it is an unlawful user, said ATF spokesman Kevin Moran.