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LA Times: Congressional Republicans Ignore Facts to Protect Trump

U.S. Capitol

By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

Following President Trump’s questionable lead, some congressional Republicans are trying to sow doubt about the integrity and impartiality of the FBI and the investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. That investigation already has resulted in an indictment of Trump’s former campaign chairman and a guilty plea by his first national security advisor, and it shows no sign of concluding.

On Thursday, four days after Trump tweeted that the FBI’s reputation was “in tatters,” Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told FBI Director Christopher A. Wray: “We cannot afford for the FBI — which has traditionally been dubbed the premier law enforcement agency in the world — to become tainted by politicization or the perception of a lack of even-handedness.”

True enough, but the question is whether such a perception is fair or the result of politically motivated exaggeration by the president and his supporters. So far the evidence points strongly in the latter direction. That comes as no surprise — the attacks on the FBI fit a clear pattern of misdirection and deflection by the Trump administration and its GOP allies on the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

To read more click here.


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Papadopoulos’ Fiancee: Trump Lied about Ex-Aides ‘Low-Level’ Role in Campaign

George Papadopoulos’ fiance Simona Mangiante in an interview with ABC News.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When news surfaced that Donald Trump’s former campaign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, is cooperating with the special counsel’s investigation, the president tweeted that his former aide was nothing more than a “young, low level volunteer.”

But according to Papadopoulos’ fiancee in an interview with ABC News, he played an integral role in Trump’s presidential campaign and “was constantly in touch with high-level officials int he campaign.”

If that’s true, Papadopoulos, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about meetings with Russian officials, the inner circle of Trump’s campaign could be implicated in the expanding special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller.

The fiancee, Simona Mangiante, said Papadopoulos took orders from senior campaign officials to ”set up meetings with leaders all over the world.”

Mangiante said her fiancee is “the first domino in the Russia investigation.”

But, she added, Papadopoulos will be “on the right side of history.”


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Homeland Security to Create Office to Prevent Large-Scale Terrorist Attacks in U.S.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday announced the creation of an office to combat large-scale terrorist attacks.

The Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD) is tasked with protecting the U.S. from terrorists who intend to use chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, the Washington Post reports

Newly confirmed DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the idea is to “elevate and streamline DHS efforts to prevent terrorists and other national security threat actors from using harmful agents, such as chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear material and devices to harm Americans and U.S. interests.”

The leader of the new office is James F. McDonnell, whom President Trump appointed last year to head Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office.

“The United States faces rising danger from terrorist groups and rogue nation states,” Nielsen said. 

“That’s why DHS is moving towards a more integrated approach,” she added. “As terrorism evolves, we must stay ahead of the enemy and the establishment of this office is an important part of our efforts to do so.”


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Right-Wing Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones Claims He’s Helping Secret Service Protect Trump from Assassination Plots

Alex Jones, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Alex Jones, the poster-boy for right-wing conspiracies and paranoia, said he’s helping the Secret Service track down people whom he alleges are plotting to assassinate President Trump.

“I had the Secret Service call me yesterday, and it wasn’t a secret meeting, but they want to come here and — it’s total twilight zone — and want me to brief them on all the data we’ve collated on whose setting up a plan to kill the president,” he claimed during a broadcast of “The Alex Jones Show” on Wednesday.

The Secret Service told the Washington Times that it’s “aware of Mr. Jones’ statements, but as a matter of practice we do not comment on protective intelligence matters.”

The ardent Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist added on his show: “I’m going to develop that plan; and video clips, articles, all of it. And I’m also going to present the plan here. Secret Service didn’t care if I kept it secret. They said that’s fine.”

Other Stories of Interest


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FBI Director: Trump’s Blistering Criticism of Bureau Is Offbase

Christopher Wray testifies during his confirmation hearing to become the next FBI directoru

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray vigorously defended his bureau and employees against President Trump’s histrionic rant about the bureau’s reputation.

Wray, who was nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate just four months ago, told the House Judiciary Committee that the FBI is “respected and appreciated” by its partners in foreign and domestic law enforcement. 

“The FBI I see is reflected in folks like the new class of agents I swore in in Quantico two days ago,” Wray said during his first testimony on Capitol Hill. “Hard-charging, high integrity people. People like the hostage rescue team and SWAT teams that we send out into all sorts of danger with almost no notice.”

Some Republicans grilled Comey about what they characterized as a politically driven special counsel investigation into the cozy relationship between Trump’s campaign and Russia. As an example, Republicans cited recent revelations that a top FBI official, Peter Strzok, was removed from the special counsel team for sending text messages critical of Trump.

“If you kicked everybody off of Mueller’s team who was anti-Trump, I don’t think there’d be anybody left,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. 

The hearing came just four days after Trump slammed the FBI and special counsel investigation, resorting to overwrought rhetoric. In one tweet, for example, Trump insisted the special counsel probe is the “greatest witch hunt in political history.”

Wray told the committee “there is no finer institution” than the FBI.

“We are determined to be the very best at protecting the American people and upholding the rule of law,” Wray said.

Wray, a former Justice Department official, is by no means a liberal. According to the Federal Election Commission, Wray has been an unwavering supporter of
Republican candidates, donating more than $35,000 to their campaigns.

 


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Two Brothers Questioned in Mysterious Death of Border Patrol Agent

File photo of a Border Patrol vehicle, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators may be closer to solving the mysterious death of a Border Patrol agent who was found at the bottom of a ravine in Texas last month.

The FBI is investigating two brothers who have been called “persons of interest” in the death of Rogelio Martinez and critical injuries to his partner on Nov. 18 near Van Horn, Texas, the Dallas Morning News reports

The news, which the feds said is preliminary, comes less than two weeks after a local sheriff and the FBI cast doubt on a Border Patrol union’s claims that the agents were brutally attacked by blunt objects, possibly rocks, not far from the border of Mexico. President Trump also peddled the unfounded narrative that the agents were attacked by immigrants.

Court documents signed on Dec. 2 reveal that FBI agents questioned Antonio and Daniel Muñoz and discovered red-stained fabric in a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am.

A forensics lab in Virginia is testing the fabric.

The brothers have denied they were involved, and neither has been arrested or charged.

Investigators said they are still pursuing the theory that the agents fell into a ravine along treacherous terrain.


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Whistleblower: Flynn Pledged to End Sanctions with Russia on Trump’s Inauguration Day

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump had just begun delivering his inauguration speech when his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, texted a former business associate to alert him that sections against Russia were ending and a plan was in the works to build nuclear reactors with Russian partners, a whistleblower has told Congress.

The new allegations surfaced in a letter from Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who said the whistleblower contacted him in June.

Flynn recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Russia’s U.S. ambassador and is said to be cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

Flynn’s text about new deals with Russia was sent to his business partner, Alex Copson, a managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners.

It’s just the latest revelation about links between Trump’s inner circle and Russia, which is accused of meddling in the 2016 presidential election to help Trump defeat Kremlin foe Hillary Clinton.

“During their conversation, Mr. Copson informed the whistleblower that he ‘just got this text message’ from General Flynn saying that the project was ‘good to go’ and directing Mr. Copson to contact their business colleagues to ‘let them know to put things in place’” the letter says.

Copson added, “Mike has been putting everything in place,” according to the letter. “I am going to celebrate today. This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people.”


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