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DOJ’s Opinion That Presidents Cannot Be Indicted Factored into Hush-Money Probe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s opinion that a sitting president cannot be charged played a role in federal prosecutors’ decision to end the hush-money investigation, the USA Today reports, citing a person familiar with the situation.

It had previously been unclear why the Justice Department closed its investigation into hush money to women who had accused Trump of having sex with them.

Prosecutors have alleged the hush money violated campaign-finance law.

The DOJ’s opinion also factored into special counsel Robert Mueller’s decision to not pursue charges against the president.


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Border Patrol Agent Accused of Sexually Harassing Woman Whose Son Was in Custody

Via CBP

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

An undocumented Guatemalan woman in California alleges that a Border Patrol agent sexually harassed her while she was awaiting news about her 12-year-old son being held in custody at a detention center, The Washington Post reports.

In a complaint against CBP, the 48-year-old woman says the agent exploited her vulnerability and began conversing with her on Facebook. But instead of learning more about her son’s situation, she said the agent forced her to watch him masturbate.

Her 12-year-old son was captured trying to cross the border in April, hoping to reunite with his mother, who was working as a housekeeper and sending money back to her family. The boy was placed in custody at a Border Patrol station in Clinton, Texas, where agents contacted the mother to tell her about her son.

That’s when the mother came into contact with the Border Patrol agent.
Here’s how the Post described a 25-minute Facebook Messenger chat:

The man appeared to be lying on a bed, with the camera aimed at the lower half of his body. She could see his dark brown shorts, legs and bare feet.

She thought it strange and asked to see his face. He flashed the camera upward for a moment before settling it again on his shorts.

He told her about his family life, a failed relationship, how he attended church. Then he asked whether she was single.

She demurred … He asked her whether there were people nearby.

When she said there were not, he slipped his hand inside his shorts and appeared to start masturbating, she said.

“‘Look at me. Look at me,’ ” she remembered him pleading when she looked away. “ ‘Do you like it?’ ”

At that point, she said her phone died. Afraid the agent would retaliate against her son, she reached out to an immigration legal-aid group, which filed her complaint with CBP.

The boy said the agent was cruel and threatening. He said the agent told children they would “regret coming to this country.” He described unsanitary, overcrowded and inhumane conditions.


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Sen. Schumer Calls on FBI to Investigate FaceApp over National Security ‘Concerns’

FaceApp

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged the FBI to investigate the popular, Russian-developed FaceApp over “concerns” that it “could pose national security and privacy risks for millions of US citizens.”

“FaceApp’s location in Russia raises questions regarding how and when the company provides access to the data of US citizens to third parties, including potentially foreign government,” Schumer wrote in a letter to the FBI and Federal Trade Commission.

He added, “Russia remains a significant counterintelligence threat.”

The app, which was the most popular free app in the Apple Store this week, provides a photo filter that transforms features of any face, like making users look younger or older.

Schumer called on the FBI to assess whether the data and images used by the app could find “its way into the hands of the Russian government.”

“It would be deeply troubling if the sensitive personal information of U.S. citizens was provided to a hostile foreign power actively engaged in cyber hostilities against the United States,” Schumer wrote.

The FaceApp’s terms of service grants the company permission to use people’s voice, name and photos for commercial purposes, even after it’s deleted.


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Smuggler Sentenced to Prison for Trying to Run over Border Patrol Agent

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A 38-year-old human smuggler was sentenced to 44 months in prison Tuesday for trying to run over a Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol agent.

The incident happened after authorities approached Miguel Mendez-Fajardo, a Mexican national, at his stash house in Mission on suspicions he was harboring undocumented immigrants.

Mendez-Fajardo responded by trying to run over a Border Patrol agent. He eventually crashed into a ditch.

Mendez-Fajardo was convicted in March 2019.

After serving his sentenced, Mendez-Fajardo is expected to be deported.


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Reputed Gangbanger Found Guilty of Shooting FBI Special Agent

Ronnell Watson, via Instagram

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A reputed gang member accused of ambushing an FBI agent and shooting him in the back in broad daylight in Brooklyn was found guilty by a jury Wednesday.

After three hours of deliberations, Ronell Watson was found guilty on charges of attempted murder of a federal officer, assault of a federal officer and possessing and discharging a firearm, New York Post reports.

The reputed Crips gangbanger was accused of shooting FBI Special Agent Christopher Harper, who was parked in a car in front of Watson’s house in Brooklyn. Moments after Harper was shot in the back, he was heard telling an NYPD office, “I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die.”

Harper survived the shooting and learned about the verdict a few minutes after the jury delivered it. He pumped his fists but declined to comment.

Defense attorney Michelle Gelernt claims his client panicked when he saw a strange car with tinted windows quickly approaching him.

“Ronell Watson was no assassin,” she said. “He’s just as afraid of agent Harper as agent Harper is of him.”

Watson faces up to life behind bars when sentenced.


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El Chapo Gets a Life Sentence for Running the Deadly, Highly Profitable Sinaloa Cartel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

‘El Chapo’ Guzman

Convicted Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera, best known internationally as “El Chapo,” was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New York to life, plus 30 years to run consecutive to the life sentence.

“The long road that brought ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Loera to a United States courtroom is lined with drugs, death, and destruction, but ends today with justice,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski in a statement.  “Thanks to the unflagging efforts of the Department of Justice and the law enforcement community over the past 25 years, this notorious leader of one of the largest drug trafficking organizations in the Western hemisphere, the Sinaloa Cartel, will spend the rest of his life behind bars.”

El Chapo was convicted in February of heading up the Sinaloa Cartel and trafficking drugs and a murder conspiracy. He has been the subject of a popular made-for-TV series on Netflix.

Evidence during trial showed that he was the principal leader of the cartel responsible for importing and distributing more than a million kilograms of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin in the United States.

The evidence, according to the Justice Department, included testimony from 14 cooperating witnesses, including Sinaloa Cartel members Rey and Vicente Zambada, Miguel Martinez, Tirso Martinez, Damaso Lopez and Alex Cifuentes; narcotics seizures totaling over 130,000 kilograms of cocaine and heroin; weapons, including AK-47s and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher; ledgers; text messages; videos; photographs and intercepted recordings that detailed the drug trafficking activity of Guzman Loera and his co-conspirators over a 25-year period from January 1989 until December 2014.

A number of co-conspirators testified during trial that El Chapo directed his hitmen to kidnap, interrogate, torture and slaughter members of rival drug organizations. At times, he carried out acts of violence himself.

He also  relied on a vast network of corrupt government officials and employees to protect and promote the interests of the Sinaloa Cartel.

 


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CBP Investigating 62 Border Patrol Agents Who Used Demeaning Facebook Page

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

At least 62 current and eight former Border Patrol employees are accused of joining a private Facebook group and other social media pages that mocked migrants and lawmakers.

CBP officials said most of employees were part of a secret Facebook group called “I’m 10-15,” which included offensive content and demeaning posts that targeted undocumented immigrants and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

One of the posts was an illustration of President Trump pushing the congresswoman’s head toward his crotch. In another post, a member encouraged agents to toss a “burrito at these bitches,” referring to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who were visiting detention centers.

In one post, commenters questioned the authenticity of a now-viral photo of a drowned man and his younger daughter.

Investigators are reviewing images, memes and comments posted on multiple Facebook groups, said Matthew Klein, a Customs and Border Protection assistant commissioner.

“To be clear, the expectations of professional conduct don’t end at the end of the shift,” Klein told journalists. “Those are our expectations of our employees.”

The case was referred to Homeland Security’s watchdog group, which chose not to investigate and returned the case to CBP.

ProPublica first reported on “I’m 10-15,” which had roughly 9,500 members.

Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost, who originally responded with repulsion, also posted on the page.


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Closing Arguments Began in Trial of Gangster Accused of Shooting FBI Agent

Ronnell Watson, via Instagram

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A U.S. attorney told a jury Tuesday to convict a reputed gangbanger accused of ambushing an FBI agent and shooting him in the back in broad daylight in Brooklyn.

“If I were to walk up behind Mr. Navarro right now and shoot him in the back, you’d think ‘he just tried to kill that guy,’” Donoghue said of his co-counsel, assistant U.S. attorney Francisco Navarro, during closing arguments in the attempted murder trial of Ronell Watson, NY Post reports.  “And you’d be right. Mr. Watson intended to kill when he aimed that loaded firearm and at Agent Harper’s back and fired.”

Watson, a reported Crips gang member, is accused of attempted murder of a federal officer, assault of a federal officer and possessing and discharging a firearm on Dec. 8, 2018. At the time, FBI Special Agent Christopher Harper was on surveillance assignment with other agents when Watson approached his vehicle.

Moments after Harper was shot, he was heard telling an NYPD office, “I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die.”

Harper survived the shooting after suffering a collapsed lung, a broken rib and fractured shoulder blade.

Defense attorney Michelle Gelernt claims his client panicked when he saw a strange car with tinted windows quickly approaching him.

“Ronell Watson was no assassin,” she said. “He’s just as afraid of agent Harper as agent Harper is of him.”

Watson faces up to life in prison.


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