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Tag: Justice Department

Comey Says He ‘Can’t Imagine’ Being a Target of Probe into Russia Investigation

James Comey via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey said Sunday that he “can’t imagine” that he’s a target of the Justice Department’s investigation into the origins of the bureau’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“Given that I know what happened during 2016, which was a bunch of people trying to do the right thing consistent with the law, I’m not worried at all about that investigation of the investigation,” Comey said on Face the Nation. “Next, I’m sure will be an investigation of the investigation of the investigation. They just want to have an investigation to talk about.”

Comey said he’s had no contact with John Durham, the U.S. attorney tapped to investigate Russian interference and ultimately Trump’s campaign.

The first charges to arise from the investigation were filed against Kevin Clinesmith, a former FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty earlier this month to altering an email used to seek the continued surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Trump has long claimed, without evidence, that Comey was part of a”witch hunt” to bring down his presidency.

‘Operation Legend’ Leads to Nearly 1,500 Arrests in 8 U.S. Cities, Barr Announces

Attorney General William Barr, via Justice Department.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Nearly 1,500 people have been arrested across eight cities as part of “Operation Legend,” an anti-crime initiative recently launched by the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr announced Wednesday.

Since the operation began on July 8, about 217 of those arrests involved federal crimes, most of them drug- and gun-related. ATF agents also seized nearly 400 firearms, Barr said.

“In just a few short weeks, federal investigators working side-by-side with state and local law enforcement have begun to make significant progress towards reducing violence related to illegal firearms, drug trafficking and other crime in our neighborhoods,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said in a news release. “In Cleveland, Operation Legend’s law enforcement operations have already resulted in 32 defendants charged federally with various drug trafficking and firearms violations. These early results show the potential that Operation Legend has to make our cities and communities a safer place for everyone to live.”

The operation involves more than 1,000 agents from the ATF, DEA, and FBI, along with the U.S. Marshals Service, in eight cities: Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis and Indianapolis. The operation is named in honor of LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was fatally shot while he was sleeping in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City.

Click here for a breakdown of arrests by city.

Former FBI Lawyer to Plead Guilty to Doctoring Email During Russia Investigation

Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former FBI lawyer plans to plead guilty to altering an email used to seek the continued surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser as part of the investigation into how the Obama administration investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Kevin Clinesmith, 38, is expected to plead guilty to a false statement charge involving mail, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, The Washington Post reports.

Clinesmith, who worked with FBI on obtaining surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, is accused of doctoring an email to suggest that Page was not a source for the CIA, even though he had a relationship with the agency.

During a news conference Friday, Trump called Clinestmith “a very corrupt FBI attorney who falsified FISA warrants in James Comey’s very corrupt FBI.”

“That’s just the beginning, I would imagine, because what happened should never happen again,” Trump said.

Clinestmith’s attorney responded, “Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email. It was never his intent to mislead the court or his colleagues as he believed the information he relayed was accurate. But Kevin understands what he did was wrong and accepts responsibility.”

DOJ Lawyer Suggests Secret Info May Have Prompted Barr to Drop Flynn Case

Attorney General William Barr

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr may have decided to drop the criminal case against Michael Flynn based on secret information, a government lawyer said Tuesday.

The possible existence of nonpublic information was revealed by Jeffrey Wall, the acting U.S. solicitor general, during an appeals court hearing over the dismissal of Flynn’s case in federal court.

“The attorney general sees this in the context of nonpublic information from other investigations,” Wall told the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“It may be possible that the attorney general had before him information that he was not able to share with the court and so what we put in front of the court were the reasons that we could, but it may not be the whole picture available to the executive branch,” Wall said.

“The attorney general made that decision or that judgment on the basis of lots of information,” Wall added. “Some of it is public and fleshed out in the motion. Some of it is not.”

The appellate court is trying to determine whether a lower-court judge was obligated to accede to the Justice Department’s request to dismiss the case.

Federal Agents Deployed to St. Louis And Memphis As Part of Expanded ‘Operation Legend’

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

“Operation Legend,” a violent crime-busting initiative involving federal agents, has expanded to St.Louis and Memphis, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Those cities will join Kansas City, Chicago, Albuquerque, Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee, where ATF, DEA and FBI agents and analysts have been  deployed over the past month. The U.S. Marshals Service also is lending a hand.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said federal agents will work with state and local law enforcement “to take the shooters and chronic violent criminals off the street.”

The agents are not expected to monitor protests like federal officers have in Portland. The Trump administration has been criticized for using federal officers to clash with protesters, which local and state officials, along with Democrats in Congress, have said resulted in escalated tensions.

Violent crime is on the rise in many big cities across the U.S.

The initiative is named after LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was shot and killed in his sleep in Kansas City in June.

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.

U.S. Marshals Service Arrests Chinese Researcher Accused of Visa Fraud to Steal University Research

Juan Tang, via Justice Department.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Marshals Service arrested a Chinese researcher accused of visa fraud for allegedly lying about her ties to her country’s military in order to receive an application to work in the U.S.

Juan Tang, 37, was among four researchers who have been charged with visa fraud after federal authorities said they believed the Chinese consulate in San Francisco was harboring her. The other three researchers were previously arrested.

Tang was being held in the Sacramento County jail, USA Today reports.

The Justice Department says Tang lied on two occasions about her military ties in a visa application in October.

Federal authorities suspect the four suspects were trying to steal research from American universities.

Tang was a visiting researcher in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of California in Davis.