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Ex-Sen. Lowell Weicker: No Comparison Between Trump and Nixon — ‘Yet’

Lowell P. Weicker Jr. is a former Republican senator from Connecticut and a former governor of that state.

Ex-Sen. Lowell P. Weicker Jr.

Ex-Sen. Lowell P. Weicker Jr.

By Lowell P. Weicker Jr.
Op-Ed-New York Times

Forty-five years ago this month, a security guard named Frank Wills noticed some tape over a door lock at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate Complex in Washington. What Mr. Wills set in motion when he raised the alarm that led to the arrest of the Watergate burglars had huge consequences for our nation.

In President Richard Nixon’s efforts to hide the truth of the Watergate burglary, it was paramount to stop the F.B.I. investigation. So the president enlisted the C.I.A. director and his deputy to intercede. When the F.B.I. director pushed back and the intelligence officers refused to continue the White House scheme, the cover-up began its slow unraveling.

It took time. It was 16 months before Mr. Nixon topped that initial obstruction by firing the special prosecutor and the two senior Justice Department officers. And then, a few months later, it was disclosed that Mr. Nixon had underpaid his taxes for years, and he was forced to pay hundreds of thousands in restitution. All the while, Mr. Nixon’s defenders claimed the investigations were a partisan payback for his 1972 election victory.

As the last living member of the Senate committee that investigated the Watergate affair, I am often asked about what similarities I see between the criminality of the Nixon operation and this hash of a presidency that is the Trump White House. My answer is that there is no comparison. Yet.

Read the Full Column

Sean Ragan to Head FBI Sacramento Office

fbi logo large

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sean Ragan, special agent in charge of the Criminal Division in the Los Angeles Field Office, has been named head of the Sacramento Field Office, the FBI announced Tuesday.

Ragan joined the FBI in 1996 in the San Francisco Division, where he focused primarily on gang, organized crime and violent crime. He also served on the San Francisco Division’s SWAT team and as a front line supervisor.

Over the years, Ragan has held leadership roles in the Criminal Investigative Division, Atlanta Division, and the Criminal Justice Information Services Division, a press release said.

He assumes his new role in late July.

FBI to Reveal Details Today of Congressional Baseball Shooting in Virginia

Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI plans to release details today of the shooting that critically injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four other people last week on a northern Virginia baseball field.

The bureau’s Washington Field Office will reveal the investigative findings by agents and other law enforcement officials.

Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, was critically wounded when he was shot near the hip, but after several surgeries, his condition has upgraded to serious.

James T. Hodgkinson was killed by police after he shot four people at a congressional baseball game. Photo via Facebook.

James T. Hodgkinson was killed by police after he shot four people at a congressional baseball game. Photo via Facebook.

The shooting happened while Scalise and other congressional Republicans were practicing in advance of ann annual charity baseball game against Democrats.

James T. Hodgkinson, a harsh critic of President Trump and an employed home inspector, opened fire at the field and became involved in shootout with police before he was mortally wounded. 

3 Senators Believe Michael Flynn Is Cooperating with FBI Investigation

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser for Donald Trump, could help make or break a case against the president during the special counsel’s investigation.

Three Democratic senators said they believe Flynn is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller and may be providing testimony that could incriminate the president.

Flynn found himself in the crosshairs of the investigation after he lied to Vice President Mike Pence and FBI investigators about a meeting with Russians, which lead to his resignation from the Trump administration.

Trump is accused of obstructing justice by trying to get then-FBI Director James Comey to stop investigating Flynn, who briefly asked for immunity during a congressional investigation.

“If you draw conclusions as a prosecutor about what we can see from the Flynn investigation, all the signals are suggesting that he’s already cooperating with the FBI and may have been for some time,” Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Later in the evening, Sen. Richard Blumenthal agreed, saying, “The likelihood of his cooperation is very high,” the Connecticut Democrat told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. “Whether he will be truthful in cooperating, whether in fact he knows enough to justify some kind of agreement with the prosecutors, I think will be told by time.”

Sen. Mark Warner told CNN on Tuesday that Flynn wants immunity.

“Clearly he’s been looking for immunity for some time. He said he would come in and talk to us at the intel committee but only with immunity,” Warner told CNN. “I would have a lot of questions for General Flynn, not only his unreported trips and unreported finances he received from Turkey, from Russia. I’d like to know what kind of conversations he had with Russian officials while he was directly involved in the campaign.”

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.

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