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Convicted Smuggler Accused of Sending Border Patrol Agent to Hospital with Bites

File photo of a Border Patrol vehicle, via Wikipedia.

File photo of a Border Patrol vehicle, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A convicted human smuggler with prior deportations is accused of biting a Border Patrol agent three times, sending him to the hospital.

KRGV reports that the agent tried to arrest Mexican national Jesus Roman Alonzo-Barela and several other people who crossed into the U.S. illegally at a cemetery in Weslaco, Texas, last week.

Authorities said Alonzo-Barela bit the agent three times, requiring the agent to be hospitalized.

Alonzo has been charged with assault on a federal agent.

The identity of the agent has not been released.

Trump Chooses Christopher A. Wray As Next FBI Director to Replace Comey

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump announced this morning on Twitter that he will nominate Christopher A. Wray to be the next director of the FBI.

Wray, a Yale Law School graduate who was working as an attorney in the private sector, previously served as assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush.

Wray also was the attorney for Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during the bridge scandal. Christie told NewJersey.com that he has “the utmost confidence in Chris.”

“I have the utmost confidence in Chris. He’s an outstanding lawyer. He has absolute integrity and honesty, and I think that the president certainly would not be making a mistake if he asked Chris Wray to be FBI director,” Christie said Thursday. 

Christie declined to say whether he had a role in Trump’s decision.

Trump interviewed Wray for the job last week.

Among the other candidates for the top FBI job were Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. 

Trump was having trouble finding a new FBI chief, especially after news broke that bureau Director James Comey was pressured by Trump to pledge allegiance to the president and to end the Russia investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Comey is expected to testify Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Here is the Justice Department’s brief history on Wray:

Christopher Asher Wray was born in 1967. He graduated from Yale University in 1989 and received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1992. He then clerked for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In 1993, Mr. Wray started working in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1997, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia. In 2001, he served at Main Justice as an Associate Deputy Attorney General and, later, as Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General.

Poll: Most Americans Don’t Trust Trump’s Statements on Russia Investigation

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey amid a federal investigation into collusion with Russia has raised suspicions among a majority of Americans, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. 

The poll found that 61% of American adults believe Trump fired Comey to protect himself, not the country. And 56% said they believe Trump is interfering with the Russia investigation.

But the same respondents also have little faith in Comey, with 55% saying they have little or not trust of the former FBI director.

Still, the survey revealed only 20% say they trust Trump when he comments on Russia’s role in the presidential election.

Half of adults said they don’t trust Trump “at all” when it comes to the investigation.

AG Sessions’ Tiff with Trump Is Over Loyalty, Not What’s Right

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the Trump campaign.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the Trump campaign.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions committed the ultimate act of disloyalty in the eyes of President Trump when the former Republican senator recused himself from the Russia investigation.

Although even Republicans said Sessions should have recused himself because of previously undisclosed meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the ever-defiant Trump did not.

Sessions’ decision to recuse himself opened the door for his deputy to appoint a special counsel to investigate whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia – a decision that ultimately could lead to Trump’s resignation or impeachment, experts say.

On Tuesday, CNN reported that Sessions threatened to quit his post following repeated clashes with the president. 

The revelation surprised many observers because Sessions was the first major supporter of Trump during the testy primary election.

But it has become increasingly clear that Trump doesn’t value traditional ethics as much as he does his own preservation.

FBI Director Comey Didn’t Want To Be Alone With Trump

Former FBI Director James Comey.

Former FBI Director James Comey.



By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s decision to urge then-FBI Director James Comey to end the investigation into national security adviser Michael Flynn was so alarming that the bureau boss told Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he didn’t want to be left alone with Trump.

Comey said it was inappropriate for Trump to try to influence the investigation of collusion between Russia and the president’s campaign team. Sessions responded that he could not guarantee Trump would let Comey alone.

After Comey declined to pledge allegiance to the president and end the investigation, Trump fired the FBI director. Trump’s discussions with Comey are likely to be a central theme during Thursday’s Senate Intelligence Committee, where the former FBI boss will testify.

Tickle the Wire will provide live coverage of the committee hearing on Twitter. 

Ex-FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III Gives Up Takata Airbag Gig for Russia Probe

Featured_220px-director_robert_s._mueller-_iii_25717
Ex-FBI DIrector Robert S. Mueller III

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Ex-FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has bigger fish to fry, as the saying goes.

Mueller has resigned from his appointment as Special Master in the Takata airbag criminal restitution fund to carry on as special counsel to head up the Justice Department’s investigation of Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, the U.S. District Court in Detroit confirms.

“Bob Mueller took an extraordinary monetary loss to drop this assignment and willingly gave up fees that would have amounted to millions of dollars to accept the Justice Department’s Special Counsel appointment,” U.S. District Judge Judge George Caram Steeh says Monday in a statement.

“He also had to sever his employment with his law firm.  He willingly did this to perform his civic duty.  It was an extraordinary thing to do.”

Steeh will confer with Justice Department lawyers and Takata to find a replacement. The court will consider Kenneth Feinberg, whom both parties had recommended, and possibly others in the next few weeks, according to a release.

Trump’s Warm Relationship with AG Jeff Sessions Has Turned Icy Cold

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

Few elected officials were as quick and passionate about supporting Donald Trump for president than Jeff Sessions, who was a senator at the time.

His loyalty helped land him the job as attorney general.

But the cozy, warm relationship between Trump and Sessions has appeared to turn ice cold, at least for the president, the New York Times reports. 

Sources told the Times that Trump has complained for months that Sessions decided to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling, a choice that eventually led to the appointment of a special counsel to take over the probe.

And on Monday, Trump unleashed a series of tweets that accused Sessions’ department of devising a “watered down, politically correct” version of the travel ban.

The public admonition of an attorney general is rare for a president.

“They wholly undercut the idea that there is some rational process behind the president’s decisions,” said Walter E. Dellinger, who served as acting solicitor general under Mr. Clinton. “I believe it is unprecedented for a president to publicly chastise his own Justice Department.”

White House: Trump Won’t Assert Executive Privilege to Prevent Comey’s Testimony

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump appeared to be all that stood in the way of fired FBI Director James Comey testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

On Monday, the White House insisted Trump won’t assert executive privilege to prevent Comey from testifying on Thursday morning, the Associated Press reports

Although White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it’s “well-established” that Trump has power to invoke executive privilege, he won’t exercise it.

Sanders said Trump wanted to permit a “swift and thorough examination of the facts” surrounding Comey’s termination and the multiple investigations into possible ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

That being said, some legal experts this week expressed skepticism that Trump could effectively block Comey, now a private citizen, from discussing his dealings with Trump with the U.S. Senate.

The White House had considered blocking Comey on grounds that the testimony involves national security interests, but decided against it because the optics would look bad for the president.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers have urged Comey to testify because of allegations that Trump pressured the former FBI director to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his contact with Russia.

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