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Tag: house judiciary committee

AG Barr Defends Use of Force by Federal Officers in Portland at Testy Hearing

Attorney General William Barr testifying Tuesday.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr defended the use of force by federal law enforcement in Portland during a combative hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

After nearly two weeks of clashes between protesters and camouflage-clad federal officers outside a courthouse in Portland, Barr said the demonstrations devolved into riots that were “an assault on the government of the United States.”

“Largely absent from these scenes of destruction are even superficial attempts by the rioters to connect their actions to George Floyd’s death or any legitimate call for reform,” Barr said in a prepared statement. “Nor could such brazen acts of lawlessness plausibly be justified by a concern that police officers in Minnesota or elsewhere defied the law.”

Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., accused Barr of using federal officers as an election ploy for President Trump.

“Real leadership would entail de-escalation, collaboration and looking for ways to peacefully resolve our differences,” Nadler said.

Barr countered “we cannot just stand aside and watch the federal court be destroyed.”

Last week, Homeland Security’s first secretary, Republican Tom Ridge, criticized the use of federal officers in cities without the consent of state and local officials, saying DHS was not “designed for that purpose.”

Barr also insisted systemic racism doesn’t exist within law enforcement, drawing criticism from Democrats.

“I don’t agree there is systemic racism in police departments generally in this country,” Barr said.

Democrats Expected to Grill AG Barr During House Committee Hearing Today

Attorney General Barr testifying on Capitol Hill in April 2019.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Democrats are expected to grill Barr on the Justice Department’s decision to intervene on cases involving President Trump’s allies, including Roger Stone and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The testimony is scheduled for 10 a.m., and you can watch it live here.

Democrats also are expected to question Barr on the use of force against protesters in Portland, where federal officers have clashed with demonstrators over the past week.

Supreme Court to Consider Dispute Over Secret Grand Jury Materials from Mueller Probe

U.S. Supreme Court

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The dispute between House Democrats and the Trump administration over releasing secret grand jury materials from Robert Mueller’s investigation will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court on Thursday said it will take up the case as the House Judiciary Committee seeks secret grand jury information, CBS News reports.

But it’s unlikely court will make a decision before the November election.

The case centers around the August 2019 release of Mueller’s report, which was heavily redacted.

The Justice Department has refused to give congressional leaders access to the grand jury documents in the case.

Democrats say they need the information to determine whether the president committed impeachable offenses.

Former Roger Stone Prosecutor to Testify about ‘Significant Pressure’ to go easy on Roger Stone

GOP trickster and Trump ally Roger Stone.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A federal prosecutor is expected to tell lawmakers on Wednesday that he “faced political influence” to go easy on Roger Stone, a GOP trickster and longtime Trump ally who was convicted of lying to Congress during its probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“I have never seen political influence play a role in prosecutorial decision making, with one exception: United States v. Roger Stone,” federal prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky said in testimony prepared for Wednesday’s hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, NPR reports.

Zelinsky is one of two whistleblowers who are expected to testify at the hearing and one of four prosecutors who withdraw from the Stone case after the Justice Department intervened and urged the judge to impose a lighter sentence.

According to his written statement, Zelinsky said the person in charge of the U.S. attorney’s office at the time told him “that the acting U.S. Attorney was giving Stone such unprecedentedly favorable treatment because he was ‘afraid of the President.'”

Zelinsky said he felt “significant pressure … to water down and in some cases outright distort the events that transpired in (Stone’s) trial and the criminal conduct that gave rise to his conviction.”

FBI Director Wray Pledges to Fix Flaws Found in FISA Court Applications

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray pledged Wednesday to fix the flaws found in the bureau’s applications for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Wray addressed findings by Justice Department’s inspector general Michael Horowitz that the bureau bungled its surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz said that the FBI’s applications to FISA Court to monitor Page contained “significant inaccuracies and omissions” and that agents “failed to meet the basic obligation” to ensure the applications were “scrupulously accurate.”

Horowitz, however, dismissed some conservatives’ longstanding allegations about the investigation into the Trump campaign, including that top FBI officials were motivated by political bias and illegally spied on Trump advisers.

“The failures highlighted in that report are unacceptable. Period,” Wray said. “They don’t reflect who the FBI is as an institution.”

Wray told lawmakers that the bureau had changed policies and procedures to clean up the process. That includes more training for FBI officials who apply for the warrants.

Saying the warrants are important to the FBI’s mission, Wray asked lawmakers to renew the FISA authorities, which are set to expire in March.

“I can assure members of this committee we need those FISA authorities,” Wray said. “We need the agility to stay ahead of the threat or we’re all going to regret it.”

FBI Director Wray to Testify before Congressional Committee about Bureau ‘Oversight’

FBI Director Christopher Wray.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray will take the hot seat Wednesday as he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee about flaws found in the bureau’s investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The hearing, which is set for 10 a.m., will examine oversight issues, including findings by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz that the bureau bungled its surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz said that the FBI’s applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor Page contained “significant inaccuracies and omissions” and that agents “failed to meet the basic obligation” to ensure the applications were “scrupulously accurate.”

Horowitz also dismissed some conservatives’ longstanding allegations about the investigation into the Trump campaign, including that top FBI officials were motivated by political bias and illegally spied on Trump advisers.

How to Watch Mueller’s Long-Awaited Testimony Before Congress

Robert S. Mueller III testifies before Congress.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited testimony before Congress begins Wednesday morning and includes two separate hearings.

Mueller’s first appearance begins at 8:30 a.m. in front of the House Judiciary Committee. That will be followed by another two hours before the House Intelligence Committee.

Mueller will be accompanied by Aaron Zebley, a longtime aide granted permission to assist Mueller with questions.

Most major broadcast networks will carry the hearings live. Even Fox News, despite earlier reports, will be airing the testimony. Also covering the hearings are C-SPAN, CNN, and MSNBC, both on television and online.

Mueller will be given a 30-minute break after the three-hour House Judiciary Committee meeting that begins at 8:30 a.m.

As predicted, President Trump called the hearings “a rigged Witch Hunt.”

FBI Training Academy Under Fire over ‘Disturbing’ Claims of Gender Discrimination

FBI academy, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Judiciary Committee leaders are requesting the Justice Department’s internal watchdog investigate the FBI’s training academy after 16 women accused the bureau of gender discrimination.

The women claimed in a lawsuit filed last month that they were disproportionately disciplined and were subjected to a male-biased review process and overt sexual discrimination at the academy in Quantico, Va.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and ranking Republican Douglas Collins, R-Ga., sent a letter to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, saying the allegations were “disturbing” and “require an investigation into the FBI’s training and selection practices for new agents,” The Washington Post reports.

“If true, such conduct cannot be tolerated,” the lawmakers wrote. “The selection process employed by the FBI must be free from discrimination on the basis of factors such as gender and race, and individuals hired to these important positions should reflect the diversity of our country.”

Horowitz’s office declined to comment.

According to the lawsuit, the women were discharged, but seven still work at the FBI in other capacities.

“Because of the FBI’s history of tolerating the Good Old Boy Network, the subjective evaluations by these male instructors result in female trainees being written up and subsequently dismissed at a rate significantly and disproportionately higher than their male counterparts,” the lawsuit alleges.