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Archive for July 28th, 2017

Key Republican Senator: Firing Mueller ‘Could Be the Beginning of the End’ for Trump

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Lindsey Graham delivered a strong warning Thursday to Donald Trump that if he fires special counsel Robert Mueller, it “could be the beginning of the end” of Trump’s presidency.

The South Carolina Republican said any attempt to remove Mueller would cross a serious “red line,” Politico reports. 

“Any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency unless Mueller did something wrong,” Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Graham, as reported today by Tickle the Wire, introduced a bi-partisan bill to prevent the termination of special counsel without judiciary review.

“We need a check and balance here,” Graham said.

Ex-U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade: ‘Trump Sees The Position of Attorney General as His Personal Lawyer’

Barbara McQuade was  the first woman to serve as the U.S. Attorney in Detroit.  She was appointed by President Barack Obama and was sworn in Jan. 4, 2010. In March, she was among the remaining 46 U.S. Attorneys in the country from the Obama administration who were forced to resign. She is currently a professor at the University of Michigan Law School.

U.S. Attorney McQuade

U.S. Attorney McQuade

By Barbara McQuade

The President’s comments disparaging the attorney general are damaging to the Department of Justice and the American public.  Regardless of whether you agree with the policies of Jeff Sessions, Trump’s efforts to insult, marginalize or push him out should be deeply concerning.

Trump’s comments that Sessions should not have recused himself from the Russia investigation suggests that Trump sees the position of attorney general as his personal lawyer.  In fact, the attorney general takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution.

By complying with DOJ ethics rules, Sessions was doing his job properly.  Trump would rather have Sessions ignore ethics rules so that he could maintain control of the Russia investigation, rather than allow that duty to fall to his deputy from Baltimore, where, as Trump says, there are not a lot of Republicans. This statement wrongly suggests that DOJ makes decisions based on politics, and undermines public confidence in its decisions.

Trump’s comments about investigating Hillary Clinton are also deeply troubling.  The case was declined last summer.  To suggest reopening it now creates the impression that Trump is seeking to use the Department of Justice to punish his political enemies.  It is critically important that the Department of Justice act with independence in bringing criminal cases, and that it not become the machinery of partisan politics.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

I also think that Trump’s comments about the attorney general are demoralizing to the rank and file employees of the Department of Justice. They need a leader who is advocating for them and their priorities in the President’s cabinet. To see their leader disparaged by the President diminishes the stature of the office of attorney general and the Department of Justice.  The men and women who have dedicated their talents in careers to seeking justice and serving the public deserve much better.

It may be that the President is trying to coerce sessions into resigning.  If Sessions resigns rather than is fired, Trump has more options available to replacing him, including appointing an acting attorney general from among any of his already confirmed appointees, without any additional Senate confirmation.

Border Patrol to Test New Drones in Arizona, Texas And Vermont

drone-1142182_960_720By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol plans to test new drones in Arizona, Texas and Vermont in September as part of an increased effort to curb illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

The different models range from quadcopters that are capable of flying for 30 minutes to larger aerial vehicles that can stay airborne for hours, Arizona Public Media reports

Border Control currently uses large drones that are flown out of an airstrip at Fort Huachuca in Cochise County.

No specifics were given about the time and locations of the tests.

Other Stories of Interest

Bi-Partisan Bill Seeks to Prevent Firing of Special Counsels, Like Robert Mueller

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A bi-partisan effort in the Senate has been introduced to prevent the firing of a special counsel, such as Robert Mueller, without judicial review.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, introduced the measure.

“A special counsel cannot be fired when they were entitled to investigate the president or his team unless you have judicial review, not just for Trump, but for any future president,” Graham said when describing the legislation to reporters on Thursday, USA Today reports. “We need a check and balance here.”

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., co-sponsored the bill.

“I’m introducing this legislation to make sure the president can’t just fire a special prosecutor, that it has to be for cause and that the judicial branch should have a say in whether there is legitimate cause or not,” Booker old MSNBC.

 The bill comes as rumors swirl that President Trump wants to fire Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s role in interfering with the 2016 presidential election.

FBI: Husband Killed Wife Aboard Cruise Ship Because She Was Laughing at Him

Emerald Princess, via Wikipedia.

Emerald Princess, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Utah man accused of killing his wife aboard an Alaska cruise confided in an acquaintance that he did it because she laughed at him, according to FBI documents released Thursday.

Kenneth Manzanares has been charged with charged with the murder of his 39-year-old wife, Kristy Manzanares, after authorities found him and the couple’s room splattered in blood on the 3,400-passenger Emerald Princess, the Associated Press reports

An acquaintance who saw the blood-splattered room asked the husband what happened, and Manzanares allegedly responded, “She would not stop laughing at me.”

The acquaintance then stopped Manzanares from trying to drag his wife’s body to the balcony.

When the 39year-old suspect was searched by the FBI, Manzanares reportedly said, “My life is over.”

New Senate Plan Aims to Revive Plan to Find New FBI Headquarters

The FBI's current headquarters in Washington D.C.

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday raised hopes that the FBI may get a new headquarters after all.

The committee’s new plan would require the FBI to develop a plan within 30 days of the bill’s passage to relocate the FBI headquarters at the J. Edgar Hoover Building, the Washington Post reports

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said he wants the FBI to replace his aging, cramped headquarters

“What they’ve said is they’re not going to proceed with the old procurement process,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “They have not indicated that they’re opposed to consolation. In fact we believe they’ll be supportive of moving forward with FBI consolidation.”

The Post reports:

If adopted and passed through a final budget package, the language would redirect the FBI to not only come up with a consolidation plan, but also justify the cancellation, detail the scope and cost for keeping the current headquarters operational until a move and explain how the fiscal year 2017 money will be spent.

The House Appropriations Committee recently adopted similar language based on a proposal from Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) that would give the GSA 60 days from the bill’s passage to develop an alternative plan for consolidation.

The earlier plan would have awarded the winning bidder a chance to redevelop the Hoover site downtown and helped the government foot the bill for the new project.