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Archive for June 7th, 2017

President Trump to James Comey: ‘I Need Loyalty, I Expect Loyalty’

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fired FBI Director James B. Comey’s message to Capitol Hill is becoming clear. Now, the question is: What will be the fallout for the president?
In written remarks submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday ,  a day before he’s scheduled to testify, Comey writes that President Donald  Trump told him at a private White House dinner in January, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.’’
Comey said the president called him at lunchtime on Jan. 27 to invite him to dinner.
“It was unclear from the conversation who else was going to be at the dinner, although I assumed there would be others,’’ Comey wrote. “It turned out to be just the two of us, seated at a small oval table in the center of the Green Room. Two Navy stewards waited on us, only entering the room to serve food and drinks.’’
On Wednesday, the release of the remarks became fodder for debate on cable TV news stations on whether President Trump obstructed justice or set himself up for impeachment.

FBI Agent Association Wants To Understand Views of Trump’s Nominee For FBI Director

By Allan Lengel
tickletheiwire.com

The FBI Agents Association wants to know what former Assistant Attorney General Christopher Wray is thinking.  President Donald Trump on Wednesday nominated Wray to be the new FBI director.

FBI agent Tom O’Connor, president of the association, issued a statement:

“The FBIAA is the only organization that serves as the voice of FBI Special Agents.  It is essential that the next FBI Director understand the details of how Agents do their important work.  For this reason, FBIAA established a set of principles for the selection of a new Director that are supported by the thousands of FBIAA-member Agents across the country.  These principles first and foremost identify the centrality of the Special Agent to the Bureau’s mission of protecting our country from a wide array of threats ranging from street gangs and mortgage fraud to counter-intelligence, cyber-espionage and foreign and domestic terrorists.”

“The FBIAA National Executive Board looks forward to meeting with Mr. Wray, who formerly served as Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice Criminal Division, very soon.  As the key stakeholder in this process, it is critically important that the FBIAA understands his views on the FBI, Special Agents, and the criminal and national security threats that Agents combat daily.”

Trump Floats Unlikely Scenario of Paying for Border Wall with Solar Panels

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump insisted during the presidential campaign that he would build a wall along the border of Mexico and that Mexico would pay for it.

Despite experts sounding off that financially struggling Mexico would never pay for a wall that will cost billions of dollars, Trump supporters appeared to believe the billionaire dealmaker would pull off a minor miracle.

Now comes news that Trump floated the idea of erecting solar panels on the border wall as a way to pay for it, White House and Capitol officials told Politico

It seems unlikely that solar panels, which are expensive, would cover the costs of a wall, but Trump pitched it anyway.

It’s unclear how serious Trump was about the solar panels, but he proposed the idea to some lawmakers.

Trump’s pledge to build the wall at Mexico’s expense has backfired after the president acknowledged that taxpayers would be on the hook until a deal was struck with Mexico, which continues to insist it will not pay for a wall. 

Convicted Smuggler Accused of Sending Border Patrol Agent to Hospital with Bites

File photo of a Border Patrol vehicle, via Wikipedia.

File photo of a Border Patrol vehicle, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A convicted human smuggler with prior deportations is accused of biting a Border Patrol agent three times, sending him to the hospital.

KRGV reports that the agent tried to arrest Mexican national Jesus Roman Alonzo-Barela and several other people who crossed into the U.S. illegally at a cemetery in Weslaco, Texas, last week.

Authorities said Alonzo-Barela bit the agent three times, requiring the agent to be hospitalized.

Alonzo has been charged with assault on a federal agent.

The identity of the agent has not been released.

Trump Chooses Christopher A. Wray As Next FBI Director to Replace Comey

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump announced this morning on Twitter that he will nominate Christopher A. Wray to be the next director of the FBI.

Wray, a Yale Law School graduate who was working as an attorney in the private sector, previously served as assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush.

Wray also was the attorney for Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during the bridge scandal. Christie told NewJersey.com that he has “the utmost confidence in Chris.”

“I have the utmost confidence in Chris. He’s an outstanding lawyer. He has absolute integrity and honesty, and I think that the president certainly would not be making a mistake if he asked Chris Wray to be FBI director,” Christie said Thursday. 

Christie declined to say whether he had a role in Trump’s decision.

Trump interviewed Wray for the job last week.

Among the other candidates for the top FBI job were Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. 

Trump was having trouble finding a new FBI chief, especially after news broke that bureau Director James Comey was pressured by Trump to pledge allegiance to the president and to end the Russia investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Comey is expected to testify Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Here is the Justice Department’s brief history on Wray:

Christopher Asher Wray was born in 1967. He graduated from Yale University in 1989 and received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1992. He then clerked for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In 1993, Mr. Wray started working in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1997, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia. In 2001, he served at Main Justice as an Associate Deputy Attorney General and, later, as Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General.

Poll: Most Americans Don’t Trust Trump’s Statements on Russia Investigation

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey amid a federal investigation into collusion with Russia has raised suspicions among a majority of Americans, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. 

The poll found that 61% of American adults believe Trump fired Comey to protect himself, not the country. And 56% said they believe Trump is interfering with the Russia investigation.

But the same respondents also have little faith in Comey, with 55% saying they have little or not trust of the former FBI director.

Still, the survey revealed only 20% say they trust Trump when he comments on Russia’s role in the presidential election.

Half of adults said they don’t trust Trump “at all” when it comes to the investigation.

AG Sessions’ Tiff with Trump Is Over Loyalty, Not What’s Right

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the Trump campaign.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the Trump campaign.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions committed the ultimate act of disloyalty in the eyes of President Trump when the former Republican senator recused himself from the Russia investigation.

Although even Republicans said Sessions should have recused himself because of previously undisclosed meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the ever-defiant Trump did not.

Sessions’ decision to recuse himself opened the door for his deputy to appoint a special counsel to investigate whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia – a decision that ultimately could lead to Trump’s resignation or impeachment, experts say.

On Tuesday, CNN reported that Sessions threatened to quit his post following repeated clashes with the president. 

The revelation surprised many observers because Sessions was the first major supporter of Trump during the testy primary election.

But it has become increasingly clear that Trump doesn’t value traditional ethics as much as he does his own preservation.

FBI Director Comey Didn’t Want To Be Alone With Trump

Former FBI Director James Comey.

Former FBI Director James Comey.



By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s decision to urge then-FBI Director James Comey to end the investigation into national security adviser Michael Flynn was so alarming that the bureau boss told Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he didn’t want to be left alone with Trump.

Comey said it was inappropriate for Trump to try to influence the investigation of collusion between Russia and the president’s campaign team. Sessions responded that he could not guarantee Trump would let Comey alone.

After Comey declined to pledge allegiance to the president and end the investigation, Trump fired the FBI director. Trump’s discussions with Comey are likely to be a central theme during Thursday’s Senate Intelligence Committee, where the former FBI boss will testify.

Tickle the Wire will provide live coverage of the committee hearing on Twitter.