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Tag: Congress

Donald Trump Acknowledges Mexico Won’t Pay for the Wall – At least Not for Now

Donald TrumpBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump pledged repeatedly during the presidential election that he was going to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it.

Now the president-elect is backing away from that promise – at least for now – and wants Congress to pay for a wall that may cost more than $10 billion dollars.

After news broke Thursday evening of the plan to ask Congress for the money, Trump once again blamed the news media.

“The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later,” Trump tweeted this morning.

It’s unclear how it’s the media’s fault since Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto, during Trump’s visit during the campaign, said his country had no intention of paying for the wall.

Greenbelt, Maryland Eyed As Location of New FBI Headquarters in 2017

Current FBI headquarters

Current FBI headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A new FBI headquarters likely will be built in Maryland in 2017, a source on Capitol Hill told FOX 5

Maryland and Virginia were under consideration for a new headquarters to replace the current one, which is cramped and not equipped to handle modern-day technology.

The new location would be Greenbelt, Maryland. 

Congress approved $834 million for the new building, which is expected to cost $2.1 billion.

New FBI Headquarters Gets Green Light from Congressional Commitee

Current FBI headquarters

Current FBI headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The long-delayed effort to build a new FBI headquarters has gotten the green light from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to move forward.

But the GSA still needs to finalize the location of the new headquarters, Federal News Radio reports. 

The committee approval was praised by chairman Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa.

“This will greatly improve the FBI’s security posture and its operations, and save money. But because of the size and complexity of the project, it will important to ensure there is strong congressional oversight to keep the project on time and on budget,” Shuster said.

The plan calls for the GSA and FBI to pay for the headquarters. President Obama’s 2017 budget proposal includes $1.4 billion for the project, which has already received $390 million under the fiscal 2016 omnibus spending bill.

Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., said many challenges are involved.

“What makes this project challenging is it is not a simple construction project of a single building. The project will be a secure campus with separate visitor screening, its own utility plant and specialized security requirements,” Barletta said.

Ambrose: FBI DirectorJames Comey – Camouflage of the Chameleon

Charles Ambrose is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, a former USAF JAG officer and served for 25  years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in D.C. and the Western District of Missouri. He is the author of the Jeff Trask crime dramas, writing under the name Marc Rainer. His newest novel in the series, A Winter of Wolves.

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Chuck Ambrose

The announcement Friday by FBI Director James Comey that he was re-opening the investigation into the Hillary Clinton email scandal has most of the nation wondering what led to this change of status, and the timing of his announcement. Before joining that guesswork, a review of what brought us to this point is appropriate.

In July, Comey took the highly unusual step of publicly castigating Clinton before announcing that he would recommend against any prosecution. His legal “analysis” of the proof against Clinton was also highly unusual.

First, there were the facts of the investigation as summarized by Comey himself. These facts included the intentional establishment of an unauthorized server in the Clinton residence, the repeated sending and receipt of highly classified matters, the former secretary’s repeated lying about her actions and the nature of the emails, and her attempts to destroy the evidence against her. Proof of intent is generally established by evaluating the actions of the suspect, including false statements and the destruction of evidence. Nevertheless, Comey initially decided that there was insufficient evidence in all of that to show any criminal intent.

After ignoring evidence which would have met the intent prong of the statute, Mr. Comey essentially wrote subsection (f) (the gross negligence section) out of the applicable statute. The Director’s explanation that he had worked all his life to “decriminalize negligence” and thereby would not recommend prosecution was nothing short of ridiculous. It should be first noted that Mr. Comey offered no such examples of his “life’s work,” and it is doubtful that there are any.

There has always been prosecution of criminal negligence, and with good reason. Negligent homicide by reckless driving is one common example that should come readily to mind. Intent to kill is not required. The negligent actions taken are so inherently reckless as to endanger human life, and are therefore included in virtually every state and federal criminal code as punishable offenses. It must also be noted that Mrs. Clinton’s unguarded emails may have similarly resulted in at least one death—that of an Iranian scientist who was executed by Iran as a spy after his name surfaced in one of the emails on Clinton’s unprotected private server.

Chuck Ambrose

Chuck Ambrose

Comey’s recommendation against indictment in the Clinton case was—to some extent—a delusion of grandeur, since it presumed that any contrary  recommendation would have been given serious consideration by the Obama/Holder/Lynch Department of “Justice.” The FBI cannot convene a grand jury or seek an indictment without the approval of DOJ, and in cases involving high-level officials such as the former Secretary of State, such approval is generally reserved to the Attorney General herself or her designee. Given Ms. Lynch’s infamous tarmac tryst with the husband of the target of this investigation, indictment was never really in the cards.

In fact, even the empanelment of a grand jury in this matter was never in the cards. Ever since the Supreme Court’s decision in the Nixon Watergate case, it has been established that executive privilege cannot be successfully used as a shield against grand jury subpeonae which seek to uncover evidence of criminal wrongdoing. The act of convening a grand jury would therefore have had the effect of exposing even the President—now known to have used an alias to communicate with Clinton on her illegal private server—to the investigation.

Read more »

Justice Department Opposed FBI’s Decision to Notify Congress of Clinton Emails

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department did not want FBI Director James Comey to notify Congress about the discovery of new emails that could be linked to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server.

But Comey reasoned that it would be best let Congress to know before the election.

“In the end, we decided it was better to keep Congress informed,” an FBI official involved in the process told CNBC.

While the Justice Department didn’t prohibit the FBI from sending the letter, it strongly opposed it, officials familiar with the discussions said.

CNBC wrote:

They cited long-standing policies against disclosing details of investigations that are underway or taking actions that could affect an election, especially in the period leading up to one.

That was especially so, they said, given that FBI agents have not yet analyzed the newly discovered e-mails to see if they contain classified information, the central issue in the investigation of the Clinton private e-mail server.

Comey’s letter said the FBI learned “of the existence of e-mails that appear to be pertinent” to the Clinton investigation, though he added that the FBI “cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant.”

Other Stories of Interest

Congressional Leaders Suggest FBI Director Comey Lied Under Oath about Clinton Probe

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Congressional leaders are raising questions about whether FBI Director James Comey misled lawmakers or even perjured himself over the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

New letters show the FBI made immunity deals and side agreements with several witnesses in the case, the New York Post reports. 

One of those agreements prevented investigators from reviewing e-mails from Clinton’s Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills to Paul Combetta, who was Clinton’ server administrator. Yet the FBI “knew of conference call between Secretary Clinton’s attorneys and Mr. Combetta, his use of BleachBit, and the resulting deletions, further casting doubt on why the FBI would enter into such a limited evidentiary scope of review.”

That raises serious questions: Did Comey really investigate Clinton and her aides for obstruction of justice, as he told Congress after clearing Clinton of wrong doing?

While speaking under oath, Comey told Congress that he reviewed all of the evidence and concluded no one was trying to hide information.

“We did not find evidence to indicate that they did the erasure to conceal things of any sort,” he swore. “We didn’t find evidence of evil intent to obstruct justice there.”

Veteran FBI Agent John F. Good, Who Oversaw ABSCAM Scandal, Has Died

FBI Abscam tape

FBI Abscam tape

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Veteran FBI agent John F. Good, who was integral to uncovering the ABSCAM scandal that brought down six House members, a U.S. senator and 12 others in the 1970s, has died.

Good was 80 and died Wednesday at his Island Park home, Newsday reports. 

Good oversaw the ABSCAM anti-corruption operation that was depicted in the film, “American Hustle.”

Good’s brother confirmed the death.

House Committee to Investigate Whether Clinton Perjured Herself

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The House Judiciary Committee plans to grill FBI officials next month to determine whether Hillary Clinton committed perjury when she testified before Congress last year about her use of private e-mail servers.

The date and witness list have not yet been determined, but FBI Director James Comey is expected to testify, the USA Today reports. 

Two top Republicans sent a letter to U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips outlining examples that they believe show Clinton’s sworn testimony contradicted evidence gathered during the FBI’s investigation of Clinton.

“During a House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing on October 22, 2015, Secretary Clinton testified with respect to whether she sent or received emails that were marked classified at the time; whether her attorneys reviewed each of the emails on her personal email system; whether there was one or more servers that stored work-related emails during her time as secretary of state; and whether she provided all her work-related emails to the Department of State,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and House oversight committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, wrote.

Clinton has claimed her testimony was truthful and consistent with public statements she made about her e-mails while he was secretary of state.