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Tag: politics

70+ National Security Officials Pledge to Vote for Biden, Saying Trump Is ‘Unfit to Serve’

Flie photo

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

More than 70 former Republican national security officials, including an ex-FBI director and former members of President Trump’s administration, plan to vote for Joe Biden.

In a letter, signed by a group called “Former Republican National Security Officials for Biden,” the 73 officials said President Trump is corrupt and unfit to serve.

“We are profoundly concerned about the course of our nation under the leadership of Donald Trump,” the letter reads. “Through his actions and his rhetoric, Trump has demonstrated that he lacks the character and competence to lead this nation and has engaged in corrupt behavior that renders him unfit to serve as President.”

Those who signed the letter include former FBI Director William Webster; John Negroponte, the first director of National Intelligence; Michael Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center; and Michael Heyden, former CIA director.

The letter provides 10 reasons the officials don’t believe Trump is fit to be president. They say Trump is “unfit to lead during a national crisis,” “solicited foreign influence,” “aligned himself with dictators and failed to stand up for American values,” “disparaged our armed forces, intelligence agencies, and diplomats,” “undermined the rule of law,” “dishonored the office of the presidency,” “divided our nation,” “attacked and vilified immigrants” and “imperiled America’s security by mismanaging his national security team.”

“We have concluded that Donald Trump has failed our country and that Vice President Joe Biden should be elected the next President of the United States,” the letter reads.

Trump Pressured Intelligence Agencies to Quash Report about Russia’s Election Interference

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump pressured intelligence agencies to quash part of classified report that revealed Russia was trying to help him win the 2020 election, according to The New York Times Magazine.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) compiled the report, known as a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which concluded that Russia sought to interfere in the election.

As the ODNI was finishing the report, Trump staffers attempted to remove the section about Russia interfering in the election.

“I can affirm that one of my staffers who was aware of the controversy requested that I modify that assessment,” former director of national intelligence Dan Coats tell The Times. “But I said, ‘No, we need to stick to what the analysts have said.'”

Soon after, Trump forced Coats to retire early.

Without Coates at the helm, the NIE soft-peddled the conclusion, stating, “Russian leaders probably assess that chances to improve relations with the US will diminish under a different US president.”

Numerous federal agencies concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, but Trump downplayed the reports.

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.

Dozens of Secret Service Employees Ordered to Self-Quarantine After Trump’s Tulsa Rally

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service ordered dozens of its officers and agents to self-quarantine after attending President Trump’s rally in Tulsa.

The employees were instructed to work from home for 14 days, The Washington Post reports.

Two Secret Service employees were among at least six advance staffers who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Employees who were ordered to self-quarantine also must get tested for COVID-19.

The Secret Service is now requiring agents to be tested 24 to 48 hours before a presidential trip, according to an email obtained by CNN.

“We want to make sure that we have a healthy workforce and that we are protecting our people,” a Secret Service official told CNN. “This is good common sense.”

Trump has been criticized for holding the rally in defiance of federal social-distancing guidelines.

It’s still not clear yet whether the rally led to an outbreak of the virus.

Rosenstein Defends Appointment of Mueller But Said FBI Misled Him on Carter Page Surveillance

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifying before a House committee in December 2017.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday defended his decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate Russia’s election meddling, but blamed top-level FBI officials for “significant errors.”

“I still believe it was the right decision under the circumstances,” Mr. Rosenstein told the Senate Judiciary Committee about appointing Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel, The New York Times reports. “I recognize that people can criticize me for them. That’s the consequence of being in these jobs — you make decisions and people criticize you for them — but I believed it was the right decision at the time.”

Rosenstein, however, said he signed applications to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page based on erroneous information and omissions.

The Republican-led committee is ramping up its investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.

Biden Gets Secret Service Protection; Nickname is ‘Celtic’

Former Vice President Joe Biden

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden will receive Secret Service protection.

On Thursday, Biden’s campaign submitted a formal request for Secret Service Protection after protesters have repeatedly accosted him on the campaign trial.

On Tuesday, Biden’s lead in the primary election increased with sweeping victories in Florida, Illinois and Arizona.

“The U.S. Secret Service can confirm that we have initiated full protective coverage for Democratic Presidential Candidate and former Vice President Joseph Biden,” Secret Service spokesman Vincent Tutoni said in a statement.

Biden’s code name will be “Celtic,” CNN reported.

Lifelong Republican Comey Endorses Biden, Then Mocked by Campaign

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by President Trump, said he voted in his first Democratic primary election on Tuesday and endorsed Joe Biden.

“Voted in first Dem primary to support party dedicated to restoring values in WH,” the lifelong Republican tweeted. “I agree with @amyklobuchar: We need candidate who cares about all Americans and will restore decency, dignity to the office. There is a reason Trump fears @joebiden and roots for Bernie. #Biden2020.”

Biden’s campaign had an odd response to the endorsement. Andrew Bates, the rapid response director for Biden’s presidential campaign, appeared to mock Comey’s support on Twitter.

“Yes, customer service? I just received a package that I very much did not order. How can I return it, free of charge?” Bates tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

Two hours later, Bates insisted he was joking.

“I forgot the #1 rule of politics, which is that if you talk about anyone or anything related to 2016, common sense goes out the window. It was meant to be a lighthearted joke – not a rejection,” Bates tweeted. “We appreciate the vote of anyone repelled by Donald Trump.”

FBI Did Not Spy on Trump’s Campaign, DOJ Inspector General Found

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump has repeatedly claimed that the FBI turned rogue and spied on his campaign in 2016 in what he said was “perhaps the biggest scandal in the history of our country.”

The Justice Department’s inspector general found no evidence that the FBI infiltrated Trump’s campaign or launched a politically motivated investigation to undermine his candidacy, according to The New York Times and NBC News.

The findings are in a draft copy of an inspector general report that is due out on Dec. 9 as part of a larger examination of the Russia investigation.

The inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, also undercuts claims that the FBI’s pursuit of a secret wiretap on a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, was politically motivated.

In April, Attorney General William Barr told a Senate committee that he suspected “spying did occur.” A few days later, Trump insisted, “There was absolutely spying into my campaign.”

But in May, FBI Director Christopher Wray took issue with the characterization that the bureau was “spying” on Trump’s campaign, saying, “I don’t think I personally have any evidence of that sort.”