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Tag: Senate

McCabe Says FBI Had Sufficient Reasons to Believe Trump Was a ‘Danger to National Security’

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, in previous testimony before Congress.

By Steve Neavling

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on Tuesday defended the bureau’s investigation into President Trump’s campaign’s links to Russia, saying the bureau had reason to believe Trump was a national security threat. 

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, McCabe also said the FBI had sufficient reasons to investigate whether Trump obstructed the investigation and was a counterintelligence threat, The Washington Post reports.

“It became pretty clear to us that he did not want us to continue investigating what the Russians had done,” McCabe said. 

He added, “We had many reasons at that point to believe that the president might himself pose a danger to national security and that he might have engaged in obstruction of justice, if the firing of the director and those other things were geared towards eliminating or stopping our investigation of Russian activity.”

McCabe’s testimony is part of the committee’s inquiry into the Russia investigation.  

Following the testimony, Trump slammed McCabe, calling him “an ignorant fool.” 

“Andrew McCabe was exposed for who he is today in the U.S. Senate,” Trump tweeted. “He was totally destroyed – an ignorant fool. The great people of the FBI must make sure that he and his former boss, James Comey, pay the price for what they have done to the reputation of the FBI.”

The Senate committee has already questioned Comey, as well as former deputy attorneys general Rod Rosenstein and Sally Yates, all of whom defended the FBI’s investigation. 

Chad Wolf Faces Pointed Questions at Homeland Security Confirmation Hearing

Acting Homeland Security Director Chad Wolf testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf fielded pointed questions during his Senate confirmation Wednesday and denied a whistleblower’s allegations that he pressured employees to downplay Russian election interference.

Testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Wolf called the whistleblower’s claims “patently false.”

In a written complaint in August, Brian Murphy, the former chief of intelligence at DHS, accused acting Wolf of directing him to suppress assessments on Russia and later withhold a report on Russian propaganda attacking Joe Biden’s mental health.

“It is patently false. It is a fabrication, completely,” Wolf told the committee.

Wolf said Murphy was reassigned to Homeland Security’s management division following news that his office collected intelligence on protesters and journalists in Portland. But in the complaint, Murphy said the real reason for his demotion was his raising concerns about the orders.

At the start of the hearing, Sen. Gar Peters, D-Mich., said, “Rhetoric and political ideology cannot drive intelligence reports, and it should not predetermine the actions of any federal department,” The Associated Press reports.

It’s not yet clear if Wolf has the votes to be confirmed.

Courts and the Government Accountability Office have both suggested Wolf is not legally qualified to hold the position because he was appointed through an invalid process.

Wolf is Trump’s fifth Homeland Security secretary. The last Senate-confirmed secretary was Kirstjen Nielsen, who was forced out in April 2019.

Wray Returns to the Hot Seat a Week After Drawing Criticism from President Trump

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

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A week after President Trump criticized his FBI director for his testimony before a House committee, Christopher Wray will be back in the hot seat today.

This time, Wray is set to testify before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Wray’s testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee drew criticism from Trump, who suggested he may consider replacing his director after he testified that Russia was interfering in the presidential election. Wray told lawmakers that Russia was trying to “denigrate” Biden by using social media to spread propaganda.

“I did not like his answers,” Trump said last week. “I’m not sure he liked them either. I’m sure he probably would agree with me.”

When asked if he may replace Wray, Trump responded, “We’re looking at a lot of different things.”

Homeland Security’s Chad Wolf Set for Confirmation Hearing Wednesday Amid Uncertainties

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Acing Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf is scheduled to appear before a Senate committee Wednesday for a confirmation hearing amid doubts about his legitimacy as a candidate.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee plans to introduce Wolf at the hearing after President Tump officially submitted his nomination for Wolf on Sept. 10.

Wolf is Trump’s fifth Homeland Security secretary, but his confirmation is anything but a certainty. The last Senate-confirmed secretary was Kirstjen Nielsen, who was forced out in April 2019.

Courts and the Government Accountability Office have both suggested Wolf is not legally qualified to hold the position because he was appointed through an invalid process.

“Because the incorrect official assumed the title of acting secretary at that time, subsequent amendments to the order of succession made by that official were invalid,” the GAO said in August.

In a separate ruling last week, a Maryland judge blocked the Trump administration’s new asylum restrictions, saying Wolf appears to lack the authority to introduce them.

The White House has ignored the opinions and is moving forward with the nomination.

Whether Wolf has the votes to be confirmed remains unknown.

Texas Border Patrol Station Would Be Renamed in Honor of Fallen Agent Under Bill

Fallen Border Patrol Agent Donna Doss.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol Station in Rocksprings, Texas, would be renamed in honor of a fallen agent under a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, introduced the Donna M. Moss Memorial Act of 2020 on Monday.

Moss, a 15-year-veteran of Border Patrol, was responding to a call for assistance when she was stuck and killed by a vehicle in Abilene on Feb. 2, 2019.

“In addition to leading a distinguished career with the Border Patrol, Agent Doss was a loving wife, daughter, sister, and stepmother,” Cornyn said in a news release. “Her loss was another solemn reminder of the courageous sacrifices law enforcement officers and their families make every day, and I hope memorializing her service at the Border Patrol Station in Rocksprings will help honor her ultimate sacrifice.”

Two days after Moss was killed, Cornyn honored the fallen agent on the Senate floor. Here’s what he said:

“It’s with a heavy heart that I come to the Senate floor this morning to express my deepest condolences for the friends, family, and colleagues of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Donna Doss, who was killed in the line of duty this last weekend.

During her more than 15 years of dedicated service, Agent Doss has made immeasurable contributions to public safety both in Texas and beyond.

In addition to leading a distinguished career, Agent Doss was a loving wife, daughter, sister, and stepmother. Her loss is another solemn reminder of the courageous sacrifices law enforcement officers and their families make every day.

We’re grateful to all of those who put their lives on the line when they put a uniform on each morning ready to confront the unknown challenges that lie ahead. I’m particularly grateful to the men and women in green who make up our nation’s Border Patrol, like Agent Doss. I want to thank Agent Doss’s family for her selfless service and sacrifice, and I send my heartfelt condolences to agent doss’s family, friends, Acting Sector Chief Matthew Hudak, and the agents of the Del Rio Border Patrol sector where she honorably served, and the entire Border Patrol family during this difficult time.”

$1.75 Billion in Funding for New FBI Headquarters Is Added to Coronavirus Relief Bill

FBI headquarters, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Funding for the long-delayed construction of a new FBI headquarters is tucked inside a coronavirus relief bill that Senate Republicans agreed to Monday.

The White House insisted the bill include $1.75 billion in funding for a new headquarters in downtown Washington D.C., drawing criticism from Democrats and some Republicans, The Washington Post reports.

Trump has long called for the headquarters, which is a stone’s throw from his Washington D.C. hotel, to be built downtown, rather than in the suburbs.

Asked why the headquarters funding was added to the coronavirus relief bill, Sen. Richard C. Shelby said, “Good question.”

“This is an administration proposal to move on with the FBI,” Shelby, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said. “They need a new FBI building down the street; it’s not safe to work in, you know, and so forth.”

Democrats were quick to criticize the headquarters funding.

“They managed to have enough money for $2 billion for the FBI headquarters that benefits Trump hotel and they say they have no money for food assistance,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “What the heck is going on?”

The White House defended the funding.

“As President Trump has said, the FBI desperately needs a new building and this measure provides critical funding for this project that would keep the building responsibly near the Department of Justice,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said.

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.

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.