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Archive for November 15th, 2017

Appointment of Second Special Counsel to Probe Clinton Could Backfire

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former and current Justice Department officials are worried about the political fallout if Attorney General Jeff Sessions appoints a second special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton.

During heated testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Sessions appeared to back away from his public suggestion that he may appoint a special counsel over an Obama-era uranium company deal and recent news that Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Convention funded the salacious dossier that outlines Trump’s ties with Russia.

The appointment of a second prosecutor could stoke distrust of the Justice Department’s independence since President Trump and Republicans are looking to distract from the current special counsel investigation of the president’s associates and their ties to Russia. 

“To have the winning side exploring the possibility of prosecuting the losing side in an election — it’s un-American, and it’s grotesque,” said John Danforth, a former special counsel who investigated the FBI’s role in a violent standoff with a cult in Waco, Tex., according to the Washington Post. “The proliferation of special counsels in a political setting is very, very bad.”

Peter R. Zeidenberg, who once served as deputy special counsel in the probe of former White House aide Lewis “Scooter’’ Libby, said the appointment of a second special counsel will backfire.

I think the vast majority of people at DOJ would be completely disgusted and demoralized by it,’’ said Zeidenberg, referring to the Justice Department. “They don’t like feeling that they are political tools to be used by the president.’’

NYT: Republicans’ Handling of Sessions Testimony Was Irresponsible

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump's campaign and Russia.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

By Editorial Board
The New York Times

The House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, at which Attorney General Jeff Sessions faced more than five hours of questions, was supposed to be about oversight of the Justice Department.

The committee’s Republicans appeared to have missed that memo. Instead, they toggled between sweet-talking Mr. Sessions — “This is so great to have you here today,” “I sure appreciate your service” — and demanding that he appoint a special prosecutor to investigate a raft of allegations, most half-baked if not entirely raw, against Hillary Clinton, her campaign for president and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

From the supposedly crooked deal that Mrs. Clinton engineered to sell off America’s uranium to the Russians, to the Clinton-Democratic National Committee-F.B.I. conspiracy behind the dossier on Donald Trump, to the tarmac meeting in 2016 between Mr. Clinton and President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Loretta Lynch — no Republican talking point was left unspoken.

It’s not surprising that, after 10 months of the chaotic, scandal-strewn Trump presidency and a steady flow of revelations about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, Republicans in Congress are desperate to talk about something, anything, else. What better way to distract from the investigation of the current special counsel, Robert Mueller, than to call for a criminal investigation of the president’s defeated opponent?

Committee Republicans asked the Justice Department to appoint another special counsel back in July, and appeared frustrated that it hasn’t happened yet. “It sure looks like a major political party was working with the federal government” to gin up a dossier and get the F.B.I. to “spy on Americans associated with President Trump’s campaign,” Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio said. “Doesn’t that warrant naming a second special counsel?”

To read more click here. 

Late-Night Comedians Poke Fun at Sessions’ Selective Memory

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikipedia.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ hazy, selective memory during testimony to the House Judiciary Committee created a lot material for late-night comedians.

When asked questions about Trump’s campaign and ties to Russia, Sessions often responded, “I don’t recall.”

“There were so many meetings about collusion, I’ve got the collusion confusion. It’s like brain fever with the vapors at the same time. I do believe,” “The Late Show” Stephen Colbert said.

“I’m starting to get a little worried here. Is something wrong with Jeff Sessions? Did he get hit by a big coconut on his way into the chamber?” he added.

“The Tonight’s Show” host Jimmy Fallon joked about Sessions’ memory.

“At one point he was questioned about his stance on marijuana. You know, ’cause it’s a little odd when a guy’s anti-weed, but seems to forget every conversation he’s every had,” Fallon said.

Trevor Noah, host of the “Daily Show,” illustrated how Trump’s international policies allowed the China to become the most powerful nation in the world, surpassing the U.S.

Senate Panel Approves Trump’s Nominee to Lead Homeland Security

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, was approved Tuesday by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, setting the state for a full Senate vote.

The committee approved the nomination with a vote of 11-4, the Hill reports. 

Plans to confirm the nominee last week were delayed because of nearly 200 follow-up questions from lawmakers.

Nielsen, the White House deputy chief of staff. is expected to proceed to a full Senate confirmation in the coming weeks.

If confirmed, she will lead an agency responsible for protecting America’s borders from terrorists and cybersecurity threats and heading up disaster relief efforts.

The department has been without a permanent leader since John Kelly vacated the position to move to the White House as Trump’s chief of staff at the end of July.

“Our nation is facing constantly-evolving threats, making it all the more important for strong, permanent leadership at DHS. Ms. Nielsen’s prior experience at the department, background in cybersecurity, and tenure with General Kelly will serve her well in this challenging position,” committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said in a statement Tuesday evening. “I hope the Senate will take up Ms. Nielsen’s nomination as quickly as possible.

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