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Tag: Justice Department

Justice Department Directs IG to Investigate Trump’s Claim of FBI Spying on HIs Campaign

President Trump, via White House

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s the latest political storm in Washington.

The Justice Department on Monday directed, a the behest of President Donald Trump, the Inspector General to probe the president’s allegation that his campaign had been “infiltrated or surveilled” by the FBI, NBC News reports.

“The Department has asked the Inspector General to expand the ongoing review of the FISA application process to include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election,” Department of Justice spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement.

As always, the Inspector General will consult with the appropriate U.S. Attorney if there is any evidence of potential criminal conduct,” she added.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein weighed in saying “if anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action.”

While some see this as legitimate, others see it as a tactic by the Trump camp to try to discredit the Robert Mueller investigation.

 

Sally Yates: Trump ‘Tearing Down the Legitimacy’ of the Justice Department

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General fired by President Donald Trump last year, says the president’s caustic tweets aimed at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and special counsel Robert Mueller are collectively “tearing down the legitimacy” of the Justice Department, Yahoo! News reports.

Yates, speaking at the 2018 Ideas Conference hosted by the Center for American Progress on Tuesday, urged the country not to ignore Trump’s attacks on the rule of law, Yahoo! News reports.

“What I worry about is the normalization of so much that is not normal,” said Yates.

“There is a time-honored tradition at the Department of Justice, at least since Watergate, that is nonpartisan,” Yates said. “There is a wall between the Department of Justice and the White House when it comes to criminal investigations and prosecutions.”

Trump has been hammering away at that wall so often and with such ferocity, she said, “nobody’s rolling their eyes anymore,” Yahoo! reports.

 

Trump Wants Justice Department to Go After Oakland Mayor For Tipping Off Residents About ICE Raids

Oakland’s Mayor Libby Schaaf (Facebook photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

California in particular has been bumping heads with President Donald Trump over immigration policy.

The latest: Trump wants the Department of Justice to investigate Oakland’s Mayor Libby Schaaf  for obstruction of justice after she warned constituents of upcoming raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents across northern California, Newsweek reports.

“I mean, you talk about obstruction of justice, I would recommend you look into obstruction of justice for the mayor of Oakland, California, Jeff,” Trump said, motioning to Sessions during a White House roundtable discussion with California elected officials and law enforcement officers.

“She informed them, and they all fled—or most of them fled—and that whole operation, that took a long time to put together,” Trump said.

 

Majority of Republicans Believe FBI, DOJ Are ‘Framing’ Trump

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A majority of Republicans believe the FBI is conspiring to frame President Trump as part of the special counsel investigation into connections between his campaign and Russia, according to a new poll from YouGov released Wednesday

Participants were asked, “Do you believe Donald Trump is being framed by the FBI and the Department of Justice?”

The survey found that 61% of Republicans believe he is. Only 17% of Republicans think Trump is not being framed, while 21% are unsure.

Overall, though, only 29% of Americans believe the FBI and Justice Department are conspiring to frame the president.

The poll surveyed 1,500 American adults in early May.

The survey had a margin of error of 3%.

Feds Wiretapped Phone Lines of Trump’s Longtime Attorney Cohen

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators wiretapped the phones lines of President Trump’s longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, in the weeks leading up to the raids on his office, home and hotel room, according to a new report.

At least one of those intercepted phone calls was from the White House, NBC reported Thursday afternoon.

The FBI raided Cohen’s properties last month and seized emails and records related to his clients, two of whom are the president and television personality Sean Hannity.

After the raid, Trump’s attorneys advised him to contact Cohen, who, among other things, is under investigation for a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

On Thursday, in an extraordinary admission that contradicts previous statements, Trump tweeted that he reimbursed Cohen for the payment.

Since the case is being investigated by New York prosecutors, Trump can’t stop the probe by firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is heading up the Russia investigation and trying to determine whether the president obstructed justice.

DEA Investigates Ex-Agent Accused of Providing Intel to Colombian Drug Traffickers

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The DEA is investigating a former agent accused of providing intelligence to Colombian drug traffickers.

The former agent, Jose Irizarry, resigned abruptly after investigators began suspecting he passed information to Colombia drug traffickers, BuzzFeed News reports. 

Sources told BuzzFeed the scope of the investigation is unprecedented.

“It’s a major case,” one of the sources said. 

The DEA confirmed the investigation.

“We are looking into his activities in Colombia,” the spokesperson said, adding that “the scope is unclear.”

She said the case is being handled by the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

One source said the Justice Department and FBI also are investigating Irizarry, who was based in the Cartagena, Colombia, field office.

Other Stories of Interest

Ex-FBI Agent Pleads Guilt to Leaking Secrets to Media

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former FBI agent has pleaded guilty to leaking confidential documents to a news organization, becoming the first federal employee convicted as part of the Justice Department’s crackdown on government leaks.

Terry James Albury, 39, who previously was a special agent in the Minneapolis division, faces up to 20 years in prison on two counts of retaining and disclosing defense information.

“As this prosecution demonstrates, we will not waiver in our commitment to pursue and hold accountable government officials who violate their obligations to protect our nation’s secrets,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in a statement.

Albury has said he was exposing “systemic biases” within the bureau when he allegedly gave a national reporter documents relating to assessing confidential informants and “threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country,” according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

An outline of the charges doesn’t mention the reporter or the news organization, but the timing of the alleged leaks coincide with an Intercept story published on Jan. 31, 2017, that accuses the FBI of aggressively investigating people deemed to have valuable sources. 

Federal prosecutors said they will continue to aggressively pursue government leakers.

“Terry Albury betrayed the trust bestowed upon him by the United States,” U.S. Attorney Doherty-McCormick said in a statement.  “Today’s guilty plea should serve as a reminder to those who are entrusted with classified information that the Justice Department will hold them accountable.”

400+ DOJ Officials Urge Congress to Respond ‘Swiftly’ If Trump Fires Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Hundreds of former Justice Department employees are calling on Congress to “swiftly and forcefully respond” if President Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the probe.

“It is up to the rest of us, and especially our elected representatives, to come to their defense and oppose any attempt by the President or others to improperly interfere in the Department’s work,” read a statement signed by more than 400 former officials who worked under current and previous administrations.

The statement adds, “We served out of a commitment to the founding American principles that our democratic republic depends upon the rule of law, that the law must be applied equally, and no one is above the law. … Those of us who served with these men know them to be dedicated public servants committed to these principles.”

Trump has stepped up his attack on the FBI and Justice Department, accusing top law enforcement officials of engaging in a politically driven “witch hunt.” He recently called the Justice Department “an embarassment to our country!” in a tweet.

Former and current Justice Department officials said in the statement that they are “deeply  disturbed by the attacks that have been levied against the good men and women of the Department.”

“Not only is it an insult to their public service, but any attempt to corrupt or undermine the evenhanded application of the rule of law threatens the foundation of our Republic,” the statement read.