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Tag: donald trump

CBP Asks Public for Help Fixing Problems Caused by Trump’s Border Wall

One proposed fix is protecting culverts with drainage measures. Photo: CBP.

By Steve Neavling

CBP is seeking the public’s input on how border wall construction has caused problems in three Arizona counties. 

The agency plans to address some of the problems caused by the Trump administration’s 30-foot steel border wall, Arizona Public Media reports.

In an interactive document released this month, CBP shows how the wall has impacted wilderness in Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties.

Among the measures mentioned in the document are installing and maintaining small wildlife openings at the bottom of the walls and protecting culverts with drainage measures. 

Many miles of the border wall were erected in wildlife refuges and national forests.  

“The maintenance of roads, the building of structures to make sure that patrol roads do not erode away, that’s what really appears to be the main objective here, and not one of trying to restore our wild borderlands,” Myles Traphagen with the conservation nonprofit Wildlands Network said.

Secret Service Arrests New York Man Accused of Threatening to Kill, Kidnap Trump

President Trump

By Steve Neavling

The Secret Service arrested a Queens man accused of threatening to kidnap and kill then-President Trump if he refused to leave the White House following his failed 2020 election.  

Thomas Welnicki, 72, was charged with making threats against the president in cell phone calls to the Secret Service between July 2020 and last month, The New York Post reports.

“I am going to do anything I can to take out [Trump]. Oh yeah that’s a threat, come and arrest me,” Welnicki allegedly said on a Jan. 4, 2021, voicemail.

“I will do anything I can to take out [Individual-1] and his 12 monkeys,” Welnicki allegedly said in his voicemail. “If I had the opportunity to do it in Manhattan that would be awesome.”

In a call on Nov. 8, Welnicki allegedly called Trump “Hitler” and said “I will do everything I can to make sure [Trump] is dead.”

Magistrate Judge Vera Scanlon ordered a $50,000 bond. 

During the hearing, his attorney Dierdre Von Dornum said Welnicki doesn’t own any weapons and hasn’t left New York City in 15 years. 

“If there were any actual danger here, I am certain that they would have arrested him sooner,” Von Dornum said.

One Year Later, Garland Says DOJ Has ‘No Higher Priority’ than Jan. 6 Probe

Alex Gakos/Shutterstock.com

By Steve Neavling

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday said the investigation into the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol is far from over and pledged to hold everyone responsible. 

“The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law, whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy,” Garland said on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the riot. “We will follow the facts wherever they lead.”

So far, the investigation has led to more than 725 arrests and roughly 165 guilty pleas, and about 70 rioters have been sentenced. 

Garland said about 140 federal prosecutors have worked on the case. 

At least 140 officers were injured during the siege. 

“Those involved must be held accountable,” Garland said. “And there is no higher priority for us at the Department of Justice.”

The Democratic-led House select committee also is investigating the riot. 

In a speech Thursday, President Biden is expected to speak on the “singular responsibility” of former President Trump, who riled up supporters before the riot and spread lies about the election, CNN reports.

Also on Thursday, members of Congress are expected to take a moment of silence and take testimonials from those who were at the Capitol during the attack. 

Bannon Surrenders to FBI After Being Indicted for Defying Congressional Subpoena

Steve Bannon moments before surrendering to the FBI. Photo: Screenshot of his live-streamed video.

By Steve Neavling

Steve Bannon, a onetime top advisor to former President Trump, turned himself in to the FBI after he was indicted last week for defying a congressional subpoena to provide information to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. 

Bannon, a 67-year-old right-wing media personality, surrendered at the FBI’s Washington Field Office. In a live-streamed video moment earlier, Bannon was defiant.

“I don’t want anybody to take their eye off the ball of what we do every day,” Bannon said before surrendering. “We got the Hispanics coming on our side, African Americans coming on our side; we’re taking down the Biden regime.” 

“I want you guys to stay focused, stay on message,” he said. “Remember, signal not noise.”

A grand jury indicted Bannon on two counts of contempt of Congress. He faces up to one year of jail on each count. 

“As detailed in the indictment, on Sept. 23, 2021, the Select Committee issued a subpoena to Mr. Bannon,” Matthew M. Graves, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said in a statement. “The subpoena required him to appear and produce documents to the Select Committee, and to appear for a deposition before the Select Committee. According to the indictment, Mr. Bannon refused to appear to give testimony as required by subpoena and refused to produce documents in compliance with a subpoena.”

Arraignment has not yet been scheduled. 

Steele Dossier Source Charged with Lying to FBI

U.S. Attorney John Durham. Photo: DOJ

By Steve Neavling

A Russian analyst who worked on the Steele dossier, which made unfounded and salacious allegations about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, was indicted Thursday on charges of lying to the FBI. 

The charges against Igor Danchenko stem from special counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. It’s the third indictment in Durham’s investigation.  

A grand jury indicted Danchenko on five counts of making false statements to the FBI.

According to the unsealed indictment, Danchenko lied about conversations he had with sources and fabricated details of the dossier.

The Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign commissioned the dossier, which was used to help obtain a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. 

Long-Delayed Plans to Build New FBI Headquarters May Soon Be Back on Track

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C., named after J. Edgar Hoover.

By Steve Neavling

The long-delayed construction of a new a FBI headquarters may be back on track with the introduction of appropriation bills in the Senate. 

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Financial Services and General Government panel, announced this week language in a bill that would restart the project. 

Van Hollen blamed former President Trump for delaying the project. Trump has long called for the headquarters, which is a stone’s throw from his Washington D.C. hotel, to be built downtown, rather than in the suburbs.

“For the last four years, President Trump did all he could to block our efforts to construct a new FBI consolidated headquarters that meets the security and capacity needs of the Bureau solely because it stood to hurt his personal financial interests,” Van Hollen said in a statement. “We fought back tooth and nail, and now, it’s past time to get this project back on track. That’s why I worked to include language in our proposed legislation requiring GSA to provide an update on the construction of a new headquarters and urging the FBI and GSA to work together to move forward. The status quo is unacceptable.”

Van Hollen has advocated for a new FBI headquarters in Maryland.

The FBI has been searching for a new headquarters for years, but funding problems continue to delay the project. The current headquarters is cramped and outdated, critics say. 

The bill’s new language says:

SEC. 530. (a) No later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the General Services Administration shall transmit to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate, a report on the construction of a new headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the National Capital Region.

(b) The report transmitted under subsection (a) shall be consistent with the requirements of section 3307(b) of title 40, United States Code, and include a summary of the material provisions of the construction and consolidation of the FBI in a new headquarters facility, including all the costs associated with site acquisition, design, management, and inspection, and a description of all buildings and infrastructure needed to complete the project.

(c) Any FBI headquarters project shall result in a consolidation of space in the National Capital Area and shall meet key tenets of the space, transportation, and security requirements included in the General Services Administration’s Fiscal Year 2017 prospectus (PNCR–FBI–NCR 17).

Fired McCabe Wins Back Pension 3 Years After Trump Fired Him Just Before Retirement

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired just hours before his scheduled retirement in 2018, won back his pension and other benefits. 

McCabe filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department in August 2019, saying he was unjustly terminated at the “unlawful whims” of then-President Donald Trump. McCabe initiated special counsel’s Russia investigation, which Trump baselessly called a “witch hunt.”

On Thursday, McCabe reached a settlement with the Justice Department, which rescinded his dismissal and allowed him to retire with full pension benefits, The Washington Post reports.

“Politics should never play a role in the fair administration of justice and civil service personnel decisions,” McCabe said in a statement through the Arnold & Porter law firm. “. . . I hope that this result encourages the men and women of the FBI to continue to protect the American people by standing up for the truth and doing their jobs without fear of political retaliation.”

One of the firm’s attorney, Murad Hussain, said civil servants have a duty to the Constitution, not a political party or individual. 

“This settlement and the district court’s rulings make clear that attempts to corrupt the federal workforce through partisan intimidation and improper political influence will not go unanswered,” Hussain said.

Wray told Schiff He’d Resign Before Doing ‘Something That Wasn’t Right’ for Trump

FBI Director Christopher Wray in Atlanta. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Chris Wray was prepared to step down if then-President Trump demanded he do “something that wasn’t right.”

That’s according to U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff in his new memoir, “Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could,” Business Insider reports.

“In one of our first meetings, I had warned (Wray) about how many good people the president had chewed up and spat out,” Schiff wrote.

“I don’t need this job,” Wray responded, according to the book. “And I would leave it before I ever felt the need to do something that wasn’t right.”

Schiff described Wray as “one of the few remaining agency heads appointed by Trump who was still willing to speak truth to power.”

Schiff, who was the top Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said Wray “defended the men and women of the bureau, answered questions in a straightforward manner, and never dissembled.”

“He didn’t go out of his way to contradict the president, but he nonetheless maintained a high level of integrity,” Schiff wrote.