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Judge Accuses Barr of Misleading Public about Special Counsel Investigation of Trump

Attorney General William Barr, via Justice Department.

By Steve Neavling

A federal judge accused former Attorney General William Barr of deceiving the court and Congress public about a Justice Department memo clearing former President Trump of potential charges following the special counsel investigation.

In a blistering decision, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered the release of the memo to a government transparency group that had requested it under the Freedom of Information Act, The New York Times reports

The Justice Department had argued that the memo was exempt from FOIA because it consisted of private legal advice that helped Barr decide whether Trump should be prosecuted.

But Jackson, who reviewed the unreacted memo, said that Barr and his aides had already decided Trump would not be prosecuted before Barr even reviewed the written advice. 

“The fact that he would not be prosecuted was a given,” Jackson wrote of Trump.

Jackson also accused Barr of misleading the public about the 448-page special counsel report. 

“The attorney general’s characterization of what he’d hardly had time to skim, much less study closely, prompted an immediate reaction, as politicians and pundits took to their microphones and Twitter feeds to decry what they feared was an attempt to hide the ball,” Jackson wrote.

FBI: 93 Law Enforcement Officers Killed in Line of Duty in 2020

By Steve Neavling

The FBI reports that 93 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty last year, a small increase over 2019. 

Of those deaths, 46 were the result of felonious assault, and 47 were accidents, according to the bureau’s annual report.

Of the offers feloniously killed, nine were ambushed, seven died while conducting law enforcement activities, seven were assisting other officers, five were responding to crimes in progress, four were responding to disorders or disturbances, three were involved in arrests, two were responding to citizen complaints, two were trying to serve an arrest warrant, two had encountered a person experiencing an emotional disturbance, two were killed during an unprovoked attack, one was trying to serve a court order, one was helping a motorist, and one was killed in an incident reported as “other.”

All but five of the officers feloniously killed died as the result of a gun. 

The average age of officers were were feloniously killed was 39 years old. Of those, 41 were men, 32 were white, 10 were Black, two were Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander and one was American Indian/Alaska Native. 

Of those accidentally killed, 26 died as a result of car crashes, 12 were struck by cars, five were killed in firearm-related incidents, two drowned, one died as a result of an aircraft crash, and one died in a fall. 

FBI Agent Shoots Armed Man Outside CIA’s Headquarters

CIA Headquarters

By Steve Neavling

An FBI agent shot and wounded an armed man as he emerged from his car with a weapon outside the CIA’s headquarters in McLean, Va., on Monday evening. 

The unidentified man was taken to a hospital about 6 p.m. 

The FBI said it is reviewing the incident. 

“The FBI takes all shooting incidents involving our agents or task force members seriously,” the FBI wrote on Twitter. “The review process is thorough and objective, and is conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances.”

The FBI did not provide further details.

The CIA said the incident unfolded by the main gate just outside the secure perimeter of the agency’s headquarters. 

“Our compound remains secured, and our Security Protective Officers working the incident are the only Agency personnel directly involved,” the CIA said.

Secret Service Agent Dies While Training at Bush Family Compound in Maine

By Steve Neavling

A funeral service was held Saturday for Keith Mills, a 50-year-old Secret Service agent who died last week while training during his shift at the Bush family compound at Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport. 

The Secret Service and law enforcement officials attended the service to honor Mills, who helped protect the late President George H.W. Bush and former President George W. Bush, The Portland Press-Herald reports.

Mills had worked for the Secret Service since 2002. Before that, he worked at the Kennebunkport Police Department.

An autopsy was performed, but Mills’ cause of death has not been revealed. 

Because Mills was working, his death is considered a line-of-duty death. 

Mills left behind a wife and two children, 15-year-old Evan and 12-year-old Avery.

“Laura and I were saddened by the sudden loss of Keith Mills,” George W. Bush said in a statement. “Keith was a dedicated public servant and exemplary member of the United States Secret Service. My family had the good fortune of knowing Keith well, and now our thoughts are with Keith’s family – particularly his children. We join them in mourning the loss of a kind, funny, patriotic man.”

Border Patrol Agents Accidentally Run Over Migrants, Killing One of Them, CBP Says

By Steve Neavling

A Honduran man was killed and another migrant rushed to the hospital after a Border Patrol vehicle accidentally ran over them in Kenedy County near Kingsville, Texas, last week, CBP said in a news release.

The incident occurred about 1 p.m. on April 29, when Border Patrol agents spotted fresh footprints in an area known for smuggling activity. 

As the agents searched for migrants, they ran over two men who were hiding in tall grass. The agents didn’t know they hit the men until a group of migrants emerged and informed them of what had happened. 

The migrants helped the agents locate the men, one of whom died at the scene. The other was transferred to a hospital via air ambulance and released later in the day.

“The initial investigation indicates BPAs were not aware anyone was burrowed in the grass nor were they aware anyone had been run over by a vehicle until informed by a migrant,” CBP said. 

The Kenedy County Sheriff’s Office and CBP Office of Professional Responsibility were called to the scene and are reviewing the incident.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Drug Trade Adapts to Covid-19

FBI Knew of Russian Influence Operation to Harm Biden, But Didn’t tell Giuliani He Was One of the Targets of the Campaign

By Allan Lengel

The Washington Post issued this Correction: An earlier version of this story, published Thursday, incorrectly reported that One America News was warned by the FBI that it was the target of a Russian influence operation. That version also said the FBI had provided a similar warning to Rudolph W. Giuliani, which he has since disputed. This version has been corrected to remove assertions that OAN and Giuliani received the warnings.

The report now says the FBI knew of OAN and Giuliani were targets, but did not warn them.


Earlier Version

We continue to hear the backstory of the 2020 election.

Rudy Giuliani

The FBI warned Rudolph W. Giuliani in late 2019 that he was the target of a Russian influence operation designed to circulate false information to to harm Joe Biden’s chance of winning the presidency, the Washington Post reports.

Post reports Ellen Nakashima, Shane Harris and Tom Hamburger report:

The warning was part of an extensive effort by the bureau to alert members of Congress and at least one conservative media outlet, One America News, that they faced a risk of being used to further Russia’s attempt to influence the election’s outcome, said several current and former U.S. officials. All spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter remains highly sensitive.

Not everyone took the warning seriously, including Sen. Ron Johnson, who told the Post:

“Regarding reports that I received an FBI briefing warning me that I was a target of Russian disinformation, I can confirm I received such a briefing in August of 2020,” Johnson said in a statement to The Washington Post. “I asked the briefers what specific evidence they had regarding this warning, and they could not provide me anything other than the generalized warning. Without specific information, I felt the briefing was completely useless and unnecessary (since I was fully aware of the dangers of Russian disinformation).

“Because there was no substance to the briefing, and because it followed the production and leaking of a false intelligence product by Democrat leaders, I suspected that the briefing was being given to be used at some future date for the purpose that it is now being used: to offer the biased media an opportunity to falsely accuse me of being a tool of Russia despite warnings.”

Libyan-Born Comedian Awarded $35,000 in Lawsuit over Interaction with Border Patrol

Comedian Mohanad Elshieky. Photo: Twitter

By Steve Neavling

A Libyan-born comedian who says he was racially profiled and illegally detained by Border Patrol agents after a stand-up show in 2019 was awarded a $35,000 settlement from the federal government.

Mohanad Elshieky, who was granted asylum in 2018, filed suit after agents pulled him off a Greyhound bus in Spokane, Wash., and falsely accused him of being in the country illegally. His tweets about the ordeal went viral.

“I explained to them that I was granted Asylum here in the United States,” Elshieky tweeted, “and that the work permit they currently hold and the license are impossible to get unless your presence here is legal. They told me that I was lying and these could pretty much be falsified.”

In a settlement with the federal government, Elshieky will receive $35,000, according to the Northwest Immigration Rights Project.

“To have the same government that is supposed to protect me accuse me of lying and being here illegally really shook me and undermined my hard-fought sense of safety,” Elshieky said in a statement. “I’ll never forget the harassment and humiliation by the officers when it was clear I belonged in the United States and on that bus. I hope my experience can at least be a wake-up call for others, and a lesson for CBP and its agents to treat everyone with dignity and respect, and to honor their rights.”