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Tag: Justice Department

Former DOJ Official Claims Barr Twisted Her Words to Drop Charges Against Michael Flynn

Former acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary McCord.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Mary McCord, former career Justice Department official, said Attorney General William Barr twisted her words to argue that former national security adviser Michael Flynn should not be prosecuted for lying to the FBI.

McCord, who oversaw the early stages of the Russia investigation, said in a New York Times op-ed Sunday that the DOJ’s motion to dismiss the charges largely hinged on her account about what led up to the bureau’s interview with Flynn, who was President Trump’s first national security adviser.

“The account of my interview in 2017 doesn’t help the department support this conclusion, and it is disingenuous for the department to twist my words to suggest that it does,” McCord wrote. “What the account of my interview describes is a difference of opinion about what to do with the information that Mr. Flynn apparently had lied to the incoming vice president, Mr. Pence, and others in the incoming administration about whether he had discussed the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia in his calls with (Russia’s then ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Those apparent lies prompted Mr. Pence and others to convey inaccurate statements about the nature of the conversations in public news conferences and interviews.”

McCord acknowledged the FBI should have coordinated Flynn’s interview with the Justice Department, but said she does not believe the agencies lacked a reason to suspect Flynn may have violated crimes.

“It has no bearing on whether Mr. Flynn’s lies to the F.B.I. were material to the clear counterintelligence threat posed by the susceptible position Mr. Flynn put himself in when he told Mr. Pence and others in the new administration that he had not discussed the sanctions with Mr. Kislyak. The materiality is obvious,” she concluded.

McCord concluded, “In short, the report of my interview does not anywhere suggest that the FBI’s interview of Mr. Flynn was unconstitutional, unlawful or not “tethered” to any legitimate counterintelligence purpose.”

President Obama Says ‘Rule of Law is at Risk’ in Dismissal of Michael Flynn Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former President Barack Obama, who has tried to be low key and refrain from publicly criticizing President Donald Trump, said in a private conversation Friday with ex-members of his administration that the “rule of law is at risk” in the Michael Flynn case, Michael Isikoff of Yahoo! News reports.

Obama called the the Justice Department’s move to drop the charges against the former White House national security adviser unprecedented.

“The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed — about the Justice Department dropping charges against Michael Flynn,” Obama said in a web talk with members of the Obama Alumni Association.

“And the fact that there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free. That’s the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic — not just institutional norms — but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk. And when you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly as we’ve seen in other places.”

Justice Department Moves to Drop Criminal Case Against Michael Flynn, Drawing Criticism

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department dropped its criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, citing documents detailing how FBI officials planned to handle a January 2017 interview with Flynn.

The decision to recommend that a judge dismiss the case drew immediate criticism from legal experts and Democrats, who raised serious questions about the motivations of the DOJ and Attorney General William Barr.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian diplomat and even cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

In documents filed Thursday in federal court in Washington D.C., the Justice Department said, “The Government has concluded that the interview of Mr. Flynn was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn,” NBC News reports.

“The Government is not persuaded that the January 24, 2017 interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue,” the filing said.

The decision follows the release of an internal review into the handling of the case. Flynn’s lawyers claimed the review shows Flynn had been entrapped into lying when FBI agents interviewed him.

Trump applauded the DOJ’s recommendation.

“I didn’t know that was happening at this moment. I felt it was going to happen just by watching and seeing like everybody else does,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

“He was an innocent man,” he said of Flynn. “He is a great gentleman.”

The move was “outrageous,” chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said.

“The evidence against General Flynn is overwhelming. He pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. And now a politicized and thoroughly corrupt Department of Justice is going to let the President’s crony simply walk away,” Nadler said in a statement.

Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, who responded to the DOJ’s actions by saying “This is not justice,” urged Justice Department lawyers not to resign.

“DOJ lawyers of integrity will be tempted to resign over today’s motion to dismiss the Flynn case,” McQuade tweeted. “My advice is to please stay. We need you instead of those who might replace you.”

The recommendation still needs to be approved by Judge Emmet Sullivan.

DOJ Urges Judge to Toss Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against FBI Over ‘Distinct’ Claims

Training academy in Quantico, Va.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department urged a federal judge Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by current and former FBI recruits who allege the academy is a “good-old-boy network” that exposes women to a hostile work environment, inappropriate jokes and sexual advances beginning in 2015.

DOJ lawyers argued the class-action lawsuit is inappropriate because each defendant leveled separate and distinct allegations against different instructors without specifying a specific FBI policy that led to the alleged harassment, The Washington Times reports.

Rather, the lawyers said, each of the 16 women should file individual lawsuits.

“Here, plaintiffs have simply failed to allege the required ‘glue’ holding their allegations of disparate treatment together,” the department wrote.

The suit, filed last year, claims some of the women were discriminated against based on their race or disabilities. One African American trainee alleges an instructor called her “spaghetti head” because of her braids.

The lawsuit zeroed in on the mock town known as Hogan’s Alley, where trainees learn about tactical training with fake criminals and terrorists. This phase of training resulted in many women being kicked out of the academy.

At the time of the suit, seven of the 16 women still worked for the FBI.

The women are asking for more female training instructors, an examination of the training evaluation process and $300,000 each for emotional stress.

“The instructors and fellow trainees who are alleged to have discriminated, as well as the timing and the factual nature of the alleged discrimination, are entirely different in the administrative complaints and allegations of” the two plaintiffs, DOJ lawyers wrote.

“Accordingly, to resolve these two separate administrative complaints, the FBI necessarily would have conducted two completely separate investigations which would have involved gathering distinct documents and interviewing different witnesses.”

Barr: DOJ May Intervene in States’ Stay-at-Home Orders Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

AG William Barr in Detroit, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Most epidemiologists and public health experts agree that reopening states’ economies too quickly could cause a significant surge in COVID-19 infections.

But Attorney General William Barr warned Tuesday that the Justice Department may intervene in some states’ restrictions, saying they are placing “unprecedented burdens on civil liberties right now.”

“You know, the idea that you have to stay in your house is disturbingly close to house arrest,” Barr said during an interview on The Hugh Hewitt Show. “I’m not saying it wasn’t justified. I’m not saying in some places it might still be justified. But it’s very onerous, as is shutting down your livelihood.”

Barr said the restrictions may go too far by interfering with interstate commerce.

The debate has pitted President Trump against most governors, who want to continue enforcing the orders until there’s a significant decline in coronavirus cases and an adequate supply of testing kits. The coronavirus has swept across the U.S., killing more than 45,000 people.

Barr Claims Russia Probe had No Basis, Was Intended to ‘Sabotage the Presidency’

AG William Barr in Detroit, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr claims that the Russia investigation in the first half of President Trump’s first term had no basis and was nothing short of an effort to “sabotage the presidency,” he told Fox News.

Without offering any evidence to support his claim, Barr described the investigation of Trump as “one of the greatest travesties in American history.”

“Without any basis, they started this investigation of his campaign, and even more concerning actually is what happened after the campaign — a whole pattern of events while he was president – to sabotage the presidency — or at least have the effect of sabotaging the presidency.”

Barr also delved into the coronavirus outbreak, defending Trump’s handling and suggesting that some of the states’ stay-at-home measures were “draconian.”

“When this period of time, at the end of April, expires, I think we have to allow people to adapt more than we have, and not just tell people to go home and hide under their bed, but allow them to use other ways — social distancing and other means — to protect themselves,” Barr said.

FBI Arrests Texas Man Accused of Offering to Pay Someone to Spread the Coronavirus

SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of the coronavirus, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a 39-year-old Texas man who is accused of claiming on social media that he paid someone to intentionally spread the coronavirus at grocery stores.

Christopher Charles Perez, of San Antonio, has been charged with one count of false information and hoaxes related to weapons of mass destruction.

Federal prosecutors say Perez posted the threat on Facebook in hopes of deterring people from visiting grocery stories.

Authorities said the threat was false, and no one spread the highly contagious disease, according to a U.S. Justice Department news release.

The FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Squad and the Joint Terrorism Task Force are investigating this case.

New York Man Coughed on FBI Agents, Claiming He Had Coronavirus, Authorities Say

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A New York man who said he had the coronavirus coughed on FBI agents while they were arresting him Monday for allegedly lying about the sale of medical supplies, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey.

Baruch Feldheim, 43, of Brooklyn, was charged with assaulting a federal officer and making false statements to law enforcement.

Federal authorities say Feldheim was hoarding life-saving equipment and then selling it for inflated prices. He’s accused of selling a doctor about 1,000 masks for $12,000, a markup of 700%.

Another doctor told investigators that the alleged fraudster had hoarded enough medical supplies “to outfit an entire hospital.” Those items include surgical supplies, hand sanitizers, Clorox wipes, and chemical cleaning supply agents.

When agents approached Feldheim outside his house, they kept a safe distance due to coronavirus fears.

“When the agents were within four to five feet of him, Feldheim allegedly coughed in their direction without covering his mouth,” the US attorney’s release said. “At that point, Feldheim told the FBI agents that that he had the Coronavirus,” the statement said.