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Comey Acknowledges His Decisions During 2016 Presidential Election ‘Hurt the FBI’

James Comey via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey acknowledged his handling of investigations into presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016 “hurt the FBI,” but defended his tenure.

Speaking at a Harvard Institute of Politics forum Monday night, Comey spoke frankly about the dilemma he faced, saying he tried to make the best decisions in a difficult time.

“Decisions that I made hurt the FBI — and that’s important,” Comey said, The Harvard Crimson wrote. “I still believe if I had chosen the other door, I would’ve hurt the FBI worse. But there’s no doubt, I knew we were spending the FBI’s credibility.”

Many political observers criticized Comey for publicly announcing the FBI had reopened an investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server less than two weeks before the election. Clinton also said Comey’s announcement contributed to her loss.

When asked by an audience member if he would apologize to Clinton, Comey said he wouldn’t.

“If you really understand the position we were in — that I was in — on October 28, you walk away saying, ‘Oh my god, that was a very hard decision,’” Comey said. “So I’d want her to understand that.”


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FBI Investigating Disappearance of $500,000+ from National Border Patrol Council Funds

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI is trying to determine what happened to more than $500,000 that is missing from the union that represents about 20,000 Border Patrol agents.

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, told ProPublica that the FBI’s investigation is targeting an apparent embezzlement scheme involving the bank accounts of the union’s El Paso branch, where money went missing in recent years.

“We know the FBI is looking at it,” Judd said.

In November, Judd notified agents in El Paso that money was missing. In a recording of that meeting, Judd said that the union hired forensic auditors, who found “$352,389.31 that was misappropriated. They also found that there was another $150,035.65 that was not properly paid to the IRS in tax money. Somebody pocketed it, just up and walked away.”

Judd told agents, “We expect there will be indictments.”

The FBI did not comment on the investigation.


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Column: Ex-Fed Prosecutor — Nuclear Meltdown Gripping Justice Department

Michael J. Stern, a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors, was a federal prosecutor for 25 years in Detroit and Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @MichaelJStern1

Attorney General William Barr on ABC News.

By Michael J. Stern
USA Today

“The Real Housewives” have nothing on the Department of Justice when it comes to drama. I don’t mean to be flippant. But if I can’t marvel at the absurdity of the nuclear meltdown that is gripping the institution to which I dedicated my professional career, I’m afraid I will cry.

I was concerned when the punchline “Donald Trump” came to be preceded by the title “president.” But my beloved DOJ was filled with career prosecutors whose dedication and integrity would keep the ship on course — even if the storm lasted four years.

I was confident that the traditions that made the Justice Department the most respected law enforcement organization in the world would surely allow it to weather any attorney general Trump could install.

But Trump has commandeered the department and sent a clear message: “Investigate me or people close to me and I will undercut years of your hard work, trash your reputation on Twitter, and create a Hobson’s choice between your integrity and your ability to earn a living. And if you pick the former, I will issue a pardon and undo all you worked for anyway.”

Read the full column


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Ex-DEA Agent and Wife Charged With Laundering Colombian Drug Money

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-DEA agent Jose I. Irizarry has been charged with working with Colombian drug dealers to launder money seized from undercover drug operations, the Justice Department announced Friday. He allegedly used the cash to buy a Tiffany diamond ring, a $135,000 Land Rover and a home in Cartagena.

The 19-indictment unsealed in Tampa, Fla., also named his wife Nathalia Gomez-Irizarry (Gomez), 36.

Authorities charged the scheme involved diverting money from undercover money laundering investigations into bank accounts the couple controlled along with family members and criminal associates.

Authorities allege that Irizarry was in personal bankruptcy proceedings for nearly the duration of this criminal conduct and failed to disclose any of his illicit income to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Irizarry is charged with conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, honest services wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit identity theft and aggravated identity theft.  Gomez is charged with conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

 


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Weekend Series on Most Controversial Pardons


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Police: CBP Employee Fatally Shot Wife, Sons And Self at Their Florida Home

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection employee fatally shot his wife and two sons before killing himself in their Florida home Thursday, according to authorities.

Orange County Sheriff’s deputies discovered four bodies at the home after CBP alerted authorities that they had not heard from the employee, whose identity has not yet been released, CNN reports.

The CBP employee was stationed at the Orlando International Airpot.

The employee’s sons were in middle school and high school.


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Trump Hires Julia Nesheiwat as White House Homeland Security Adviser

White House Homeland Security Adviser Julia Nesheiwat.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump has hired Florida’s chief resilience officer to be his White House homeland security adviser.

Julia Nesheiwat, a former U.S. Army captain with an extensive military background, will be the fourth person to fill the position since Trump was elected, Politico first reported. She replaces Rear Adm. Peter Brown, who lasted about six months on the job.

Dough Fears and Tom Bossert also held the position.

Neishewat had served as deputy special presidential envoy for hostage affairs for four years.

In Florida, Neishewat prepared for natural disasters.

Neishewat’s military background includes tours in Afghanistan Iraq. She is fluent in Arabic, Japanese and Spanish.

Trump split up the Homeland Security Council and National Security Council soon after he became president. The national security adviser is Robert O’Brien, who worked with Neishewat at the State Department.


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Trump Defies AG Barr, Continues Tweeting about Justice Department

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

In brazen defiance of Attorney General William Barr, President Trump continued to tweet about the Justice Department.

On Wednesday, Trump retweeted allegations that he is “the victim” of a DOJ conspiracy theory, just hours after reports suggested Barr told his staff that he’s considering resigning over the president’s comments about Justice Department criminal cases.

Trump fired off more than a dozen tweets and retweets that seemed to make a case that Barr should “clean house” at the Justice Department.

“There must be JUSTICE. This can never happen to a President, or our Country, again!,” Trump wrote, retweeting a post from Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, who insisted there are “high expectations that the Justice Dept will very soon deliver transparency & ACCOUNTABILITY regarding DOJ/FBI officials who weaponized the awesome powers at their disposal in order to target the Trump campaign.”

Last week, Barr told ABC News that Trump’s tweets about Justice Department cases “make it impossible for me to do my job.”

“I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Barr said.

Trump continued tweeting anyway.

According to The Washington Post, Barr’s motive for threatening to quit may have been to send a message to Trump to stop tweeting.

“He has his limits,” a source said.


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