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Tag: Senate Judiciary Committee

DOJ Reviewing Decision to Not Prosecute FBI Agents Who Botched Handling of Nassar Probe

Larry Nassar is charged with child pornography.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department is reviewing its previous decision not to prosecute former FBI agents who mishandled the investigation into sexual abuse allegations against disgraced gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. 

Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco made the announcement Tuesday while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She said Kenneth Polite, the head of the DOJ’s criminal division, “is currently reviewing this matter, including new information that has come to light,” The New York Times reports.

The review comes nearly three months after the Justice Department’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded in a searing 119-page report that the FBI mishandled the investigation.

Horowitz also found that W. Jay Abbot, special agent in charge of the Indianapolis Field Office, lied to investigators about the botched investigation and his personal conflicts in the case. 

Abbott retired in January 2018, and Agent Michael Langeman was fired for his role in the investigation. 

“I want the survivors to understand how exceptionally seriously we take this issue and believe that this deserves a thorough and full review,”  Monaco said at the hearing.

Wray Apologizes to Larry Nassar Victims for FBI’s Handling of Case, Pledges to Do Better

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in February.

FBI Director Christopher Wray apologized Wednesday for the bureau’s “totally unacceptable” failures in the Larry Nassar case, telling senators he had fired an agent who was involved in the case.

“I’m sorry that so many people let you down again and again,” Wray said to the victims while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I am especially sorry that there were people at the F.B.I. who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed, and that is inexcusable. It never should have happened, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.”

Wray’s testimony comes two months after the Justice Department’s Inspector General concluded that the Indianapolis Field Office “failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required.”

After reading the report, Wray said he wasted no time firing Michael Langeman, who was a supervisory special agent in the Indianapolis Field Office. 

“When I received the inspector general’s report and saw that the supervisory special agent in Indianapolis had failed to carry out even the most basic parts of the job, I immediately made sure he was no longer performing the functions of a special agent,” Wray said. “And I can now tell you that individual no longer works for the FBI in any capacity.”

Star Olympic gymnast Simone Biles testified at the hearing and criticized the bureau for turning a “blind eye” to the sexual abuse that she and hundreds of other young athletes had endured at the hands of Nassar, the former national team doctor. 

“To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar, but I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” Biles, 24, said.

Wray said the bureau has strengthened polices and training for agents to properly handle abuse cases and pledged to ensure it never happened again. 

“On no planet is what happened in this case acceptable,” Wray said. 

Ex-Acting AG Testifies That Trump Pressured DOJ Officials to Overturn Election

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen told congressional investigators on Saturday that President Trump pressured him and other Justice Department leaders to overturn the election. 

Rosen’s testimony came during closed-door testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, The New York Times reports. He also met Friday with the Justice Department’s Inspector General.

Rosen also said Jeffrey Clark, the acting head of the Justice Department’s civil division, pressed DOJ leadership to make false claims about widespread election fraud. At the time, Trump mulled replacing Rosen with Clark. 

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said Rosen’s testimony was “invaluable.”

“It was real. Very real. And it was very specific,” Durbin said of Trump pressuring Rosen. “The former president is not subtle when he wants something.”

Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, lauded Rosen for his cooperation. 

“I have to say history is going to very kind to Mr. Rosen when this is all over. When he was initially appointed, I didn’t think that was the case. I was wrong,” Durbin said.

He added, “It’s a good thing for America we had someone like Rosen in that position.”

Wray to Testify Before Senate Judiciary Committee about Capitol Attack, Domestic Extremists

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the House Homeland Security Committee.

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray is set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, and senators are expected to grill him about the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, as well as the rising threat of domestic terrorism. 

The committee hearing marks his first testimony since the insurrection, which led to the deaths of at least five people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.

The FBI has come under fire for missing warning signs before the riot. 

Since the attack, the FBI has arrested more than 280 people accused of participating in the attack. 

Wray also is expected to be asked about the rising threat from white nationalists and other violent domestic extremists. 

During Wray’s last testimony before a congressional committee in September, he spoke about domestic extremists. 

“Trends may shift, but the underlying drivers for domestic violent extremism – such as perceptions of government or law enforcement overreach, sociopolitical conditions, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and reactions to legislative actions – remain constant,” Wray said told the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Committee to Vote Today on Advancing Merrick Garland for AG Confirmation

Judge Merrick Garland, via White House.

By Steve Neavling

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote today on advancing Merrick Garland, President Biden’s pick for attorney general, to the full Senate for confirmation. 

Garland has bipartisan support and is expected to receive the committee’s approval for a full Senate vote. 

Garland testified before the committee last week during a two-day confirmation hearing. 

Garland, 68, rose to national prominence in 2016 when President Obama nominated him to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Republicans denied him a hearing. 

Garland was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1997. 

Garland is a graduate of Harvard University’s college and law school.  

Garland Moves Closer to Confirmation for Attorney General

By Steve Neavling

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he plans to support Merrick Garland’s nomination for attorney general. 

When asked if he expected to vote to confirm Garland, McConnell told POLITICO, “I do.”

Garland testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday in the second day of his two-day confirmation hearing. 

During the hearing, all five witnesses praised Garland. 

The committee is expected to vote on his confirmation Monday, and the full Senate plans to vote next week. 

Garland, 68, rose to national prominence in 2016 when President Obama nominated him to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Republicans denied him a hearing. 

With Democrats now in control of the U.S. Senate, Republican won’t be able to block his nomination to serve as attorney general.  

Garland was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1997. 

Garland is a graduate of Harvard University’s college and law school. 

Merrick Garland Gets Confirmation Hearing Before Senate Judiciary Committee

Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

By Steve Neavling

Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, will go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday for the first day of a two-day confirmation hearing. 

Garland is expected to get bipartisan support. 

Garland, 68, rose to national prominence in 2016 when President Obama nominated him to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Republicans denied him a hearing. 

With Democrats now in control of the U.S. Senate, Republican won’t be able to block his nomination to serve as attorney general.  

Garland was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1997. 

Garland is a graduate of Harvard University’s college and law school. 

Sen. Graham to Invite Mueller to Testify After Ex-Special Counsel Wrote Op-Ed about Roger Stone

Robert S. Mueller III testifies before Congress last summer.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to invite former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before the Judiciary Committee after Mueller penned a rare op-ed in response to President Trump’s decision to commute Roger Stone’s prison sentence.

Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats have long called for Mueller to testify, but Graham has denied the request – until now.

“Apparently Mr. Mueller is willing – and also capable – of defending the Mueller investigation through an oped in the Washington Post,” Graham tweeted. “Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have previously requested Mr. Mueller appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about his investigation. That request will be granted.”

A spokesman for Graham told NBC News that a “formal invivtation to Mr. Mueller is in the works.”

In The Washington Post op-ed, Mueller wrote that he was “compelled to respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper, and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim of our office.”

“The Russia investigation was of paramount importance,” he said. “Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.”

Trump drew criticism from Democrats and some Republicans after commuting Stone’s prison sentence on Friday.