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Archive for July 20th, 2017

Lengel: Trump’s Statements Are Indicators of Tough Times Ahead for Jeff Sessions and Christopher Wray

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Heading up a major law enforcement agency like the Justice Department or FBI is never easy. It’s a major headache. There’s always a crisis around the corner.

Keeping your job and doing it with integrity has only been more challenging under the Trump administration. Don’t count on Jeff Sessions sticking around as Attorney General for all too long, and expect Christopher Wray to face endless ethical dilemmas dealing with President Donald Trump after his confirmation as FBI director.

The president’s remarks to the New York Times give a pretty clear indication of tumultuous times ahead for the two.

Trump tells  the paper that he would never have hired Sessions had he known he was going to recuse himself in the probe into Russia.

“Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump said.

Everyone, perhaps except Trump, realizes Sessions had no choice considering he was in the the inner circle of the Trump campaign in 2016, and he met with Russian officials. It was a no-brainer for Sessions, and frankly, had he not, he would have been under great pressure on the Hill and from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to recuse himself.

Then there’s the comment about the FBI director.

“The FBI person really reports to the president of the United States,” Trump said in what clearly is an untrue statement. Sure, the FBI director can brief the president on a regular basis, but he doesn’t answer to the president, at least not in the way Trump thinks.

The FBI’s website states, “Within the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI is responsible to the attorney general, and it reports its findings to U.S. Attorneys across the country. The FBI’s intelligence activities are overseen by the Director of National Intelligence.”

Trump won’t have a very hard time pushing Sessions out. That seems to be a certainty.

But considering he’s already fired one FBI director, Trump will have a tough time firing a second one without catching hell from Congress and the American people.

These are challenging and complicated times for law enforcement.

What isn’t complicated is doing the right thing and not bending to pressures from the White House.

President Nixon tried undermining the justice system, and we know justice prevailed.

Trump: I Would Not Have Appointed Sessions If I Knew He’d Recuse Himself

President Trump

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In a stunning admission, President Trump said he would not have appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney general if he had known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

Trump complained to the New York Times that Sessions’ decision to recuse himself led to the appointment of a special counsel to investigate alleged collusion between the Republican’s campaign team and Russia. 

 “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump said.

The president didn’t stop there, criticizing former FBI Director James Comey, the deputy attorney general and special counsel Robert Mueller III.

Trump painted a picture that he was the victim of a malicious campaign to derail his presidency in a wide-ranging, revealing interview.

Still, Trump insisted, he’s not the focus of an investigation.

“I don’t think we’re under investigation,” he said. “I’m not under investigation. For what? I didn’t do anything wrong.”

FBI Renews Search for Long-Sought Child Molestation Suspect

Age-progressed photo of what Barrett Preston Busschau may look like today.

Age-progressed photo of what Barrett Preston Busschau may look like today.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is renewing its search for a long-sought fugitive who was charged in 1993 with molesting five girls between the ages of 10 and 15.

Barrett Preston Busschau, now 42, has been on the loose since he was awaiting trial on numerous charges of sexual assault. He disappeared from Oregon in 1993.

The FBI produced an age-progressed photo of what Busschau may look like now and posted the image and information on its fugitive website. https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/cac/barrett-preston-busschau

A native of South Africa, Busschau had been living in the U.S. since 1984 as a legal resident. Authorities believe he may have fled to California, Panama or South Africa.

Trump Reinvents History by Saying FBI Director Should Report Directly to President

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Showing a disdain or ignorance of the FBI’s independence, President Trump suggested the bureau’s next director should report directly to him during a wide-ranging interview with the New York Times

Trump cited some alternative history by suggesting that the FBI director began reporting to the Justice Department while Richard Nixon was president.

“The FBI person really reports to the president of the United States,” Trump said in what clearly is an untrue statement.

The FBI’s website states, “Within the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI is responsible to the attorney general, and it reports its findings to U.S. Attorneys across the country. The FBI’s intelligence activities are overseen by the Director of National Intelligence.”

Trump suggested “there was nothing official, there was nothing from Congress” that requires the director to report to the Justice Department.

“There was nothing — anything. But the FBI person really reports directly to the president of the United States, which is interesting. You know, which is interesting. And I think we’re going to have a great new FBI director.”

Trump’s comments raise questions about his expectation of his nominee for FBI director, Christopher Wray.

Trump Says Special Counsel Should Not Delve into His Personal Finances

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump said it would be “a violation” for the Justice Department’s special counsel to delve into his personal finances.

When asked by the New York Times if Robert Mueller would cross a “red line” by investigating the president’s personal finances, Trump said the special counsel would, before seeming to dare Mueller to try it. 

“I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia,” Trump said.

He added: ”I think if he wants to go, my finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievable successful company.”

Trump declined to say whether he’d try to get Mueller fired if the investigation included the president’s finances.

Trump also told the Times that a special counsel “should never have been appointed.”

Ultimately, Trump said, he doesn’t believe Mueller will delve into his personal tax filings and other financial documents.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he told the Times.

FBI: Pipe Bomb Found in Suspect’s Oklahoma Man’s Apartment Had ‘Unusual’ Features

Bombing suspect Benjamin Roden.

Bombing suspect Benjamin Roden.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of two pipe pipe bombs found in the Oklahoma apartment of a man accused of setting off explosives near a military recruiting office had “unusual” features typically seen outside of the U.S., according to an FBI investigation.

One of the pipe bombs found in 28-year-old Benjamin Roden’s apartment in Tulsa contained magnets and two 9-volt batteries – features “typically seen in other parts of the world,” the Tulsa World reports.

The bomb was “unusual for Oklahoma,” the government affidavit reads.

Roden was arrested in July following a pipe-bomb explosion outside of an unoccupied Air Force recruiting office in a suburb of Tulsa.

The investigation is ongoing, but federal authorities said last week that the explosion didn’t appear to be domestic terrorism.

Rosen, a former Air Force senior airman, joined the Air National Guard in 2014 but later resigned after failing to complete training to become a certified electrician.

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