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Tag: general counsel

Wray Taps Former Law Partner to Serve as Top FBI Attorney

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray has named a former law partner to serve as the bureau’s next general counsel.

Jason A. Jones, a partner at law firm King & Spalding LLP, will replaces Dana Boente, who was criticized by Republicans for the FBI’s handling of the investigation into President Trump’s administration. He resigned under pressure in June.

Wray and Jones used to work together at King & Spalding.

Jones previously served as a federal prosecutor for nearly a decade, prosecuting suspects for a range of crimes, including murder, racketeering, terrorism, and money laundering. At the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York, Jones served on the Guantanamo Bay Review Task Force.

In 2014, Jones served as senior counsel to the assistant attorney general. In addition, he served on the attorney general’s Capital Case Review Committee.

Jones later became assistant chief of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Unit in the Justice Department’s Fraud Section, where he investigated and helped prosecute companies and people accused of bribing foreign officials.

After leaving the Justice Department, Jones became a partner at King & Spalding’s Special Matters and Government Investigations team.

A graduate of Dartmouth College with a law degree from Cornell University, Jones received the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering the Interests of U.S. National Security, the U.S. Attorney’s Office Award for Excellence in Criminal Litigation, and the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation’s Federal Prosecutor Award.

Ex-FBI Attorney James Baker Joins Twitter As New Deputy General Counsel

Former top FBI attorney James Baker

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

James Baker, the former top attorney for the FBI, has joined Twitter as the social media company’s new deputy general counsel.

Twitter’s general counsel, Sean Edgett, tweeted the announcement Monday.

“Thrilled to welcome @thejimbaker to @Twitter as Deputy General Counsel,” Edgett said. Jim is committed to our core principles of an open internet and freedom of expression, and brings experience navigating complex, global issues with a principled approach.”

The move is certain to infuriate Trump. As general counsel for the FBI during the bureau’s investigation of Russia and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Baker played an integral role in the probe, which the president has called a “witch hunt.”

Baker, whom The Washington Post described as “one of the most trusted, longest-serving national security officials in the government,” was reassigned in December 2017. Baker resigned from the FBI in May 2018 and joined the Brookings Institute.

Trump has clashed with Twitter when the social media company began fact-checking some of his tweets.

Top Homeland Security Lawyer Fired in Latest Shake-Up

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Shake-ups continue at the Department of Homeland Security with Tuesday’s departure of John Mitnick, the agency’s general counsel.

The White House fired Mitnick, who oversaw 2,500 lawyers at the agency, The New York Times reports.

“We thank John for this service, and we wish him well,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement.

The firing comes about four months after the White House ousted numerous top Homeland Security officials, including the secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen and the acting deputy secretary, Claire Grady. A month later, L. Francis Cissna, the head of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, left the agency a month later.

It’s not immediately clear who will replace Mitnick. Among the possibilities are Joseph B. Maher, the department’s principal deputy general counsel, and Chad Mizelle, an associate counsel to the president.

Special Counsel Probe Reaches Trump’s Inner Circle with AG Sessions Interview

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The special counsel investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia has officially penetrated the president’s inner circle.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was questioned for several hours last week as special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of legal experts dive deeper into allegations against President Trump and his former and current associates, the New York Times reported. 

It wasn’t immediately clear what questions were posed to Sessions, but he is a key witness in several targets of the probe: During the campaign, Sessions met with several Russian officials and was involved in developing Trump’s positions on Russia.

The attorney general also may have information about the firing of then-FBI director James Comey.

The president’s relationship with Sessions has been rocky since he recused himself in any future investigations involving Trump’s campaign since the former Alabama senator had close ties  of his close ties to the campaign.

So far, Mueller’s investigation has produced indictments against four former Trump campaign.

Opinion: Nobody’s Home at Homeland Security

Michael McCaul
The Wall Street Journal

President Obama recently announced the long-overdue nomination of Jeh Johnson, the former general counsel of the Defense Department, as the fourth secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. If confirmed, Mr. Johnson will immediately face a major obstacle: Over 40% of the department’s senior leadership positions are either vacant or have an “acting” placeholder. This means that nearly half of the top positions at the third-largest agency in the U.S. government aren’t filled—a problem that has impaired its operations and speaks volumes about this administration’s commitment to homeland security.

The positions didn’t become vacant all at once. The problem has snowballed as the Obama administration has failed to fill open spots in various parts of the department for many months, and in some cases for years.

To read more click here.

Supreme Court Ruling Prompts FBI to Turn Off About 3,000 GPS Devices

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s fair to surmise that the FBI has a surplus of GPS devices that are just going to be sitting around.

The Wall Street Journal reports that FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann said at a conference Friday that a Supreme Court ruling requiring a court order before placing a GPS on someone’s car has prompted the FBI to turn off about 3,000 GPS devices that were in use.

Weissmann made his comments at a University of San Francisco conference called “Big Brother in the 21st Century.”

The Journal reports that the devices were often placed underneath cars to track movements.

 

 

Andrew Weissmann Named FBI’s General Counsel

Andrew Weissmann/photo columbia law

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Andrew Weissmann, a private lawyer who once served as the former director of the federal government’s Enron task force, and who also previously served as FBI Director Robert S. Mueller’s special counsel, will become the FBI’s new general counsel, according to the Am Law Daily reported.

The publication reports that Weissman has left his post as cochair of Jenner & Block’s white-collar defense and investigations practice, a New York-based firm he joined in 2006.

Weissmann replaces Valerie Caproni, who became the general counsel at Northrop Grumman Corporation earlier this month, Am Law Daily reported.

The publication reported that he will oversee a 300-lawyer law department.