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Archive for January 2nd, 2018

Legal Expert: Why Trump Won’t Be Able to Stop Mueller Probe

President Trump, via White House.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fears that President Trump will orchestrate the termination of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether the Republican’s campaign colluded with Russia, are likely overblown, argues Jack Goldsmith, co-founder of Lawfare and Harvard Law School professor.

I believe that what we learned in 2017 should give us confidence in 2018 that Trump will not be able to terminate the Mueller investigation,” Goldsmith wrote

Goldsmith points out that the Justice Department “took the proper steps despite the allegiance that political appointees typically feel toward the president who appointed them.”

They did so because they are embedded in and charged with running an institution with rules and norms that they feel personal and professional responsibility to abide by and uphold,” he added.

Yet despite Trump’s rhetorical crusade against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and fired FBI Director James Comey, the investigation has continued unimpeded.

“In short, the political appointees in the Justice Department who are connected to the Mueller investigation have shown that they follow the rules and norms of the department despite the president’s wishes otherwise,” Goldsmith argued.

Even if Rosenstein gave into political pressure, he’d have trouble justifying kicking Mueller to the curb because he either has to show the special counsel’s proposed steps were “inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices” or that Mueller participated in “misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of Departmental policies.”

To do that, Rosenstein would need to explain his actions to Congress, which has been unwilling so far to intervene, save for a few conservative Republicans.

Trump’s has other options, but they too would be difficult to pull off. For example, Trump could fire Rosenstein, but he’d have trouble finding a Senate-confirmed official, as required by law, finding a replacement who interfere in the investigation.

Border Patrol Agent Hospitalized After Being Struck with Large Rock

Border marker, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent crashed his all-terrain vehicle after he was struck in the chest by a grapefruit-size rock about 20 miles southwest Otay Mesa, Calif.

The agent, who has not yet been identified, was traveling about 20 mph when he was assaulted, the Los Angeles Times reports

When the agent called for help, his colleagues arrived and spotted hat they believed was a group of people trying to enter the country illegally. The agents dispersed the group with tear gas and notified Mexican authorities, who assisted.

The injured agent, who is now on administrative leave, was released from the hospital Sunday with severe bruises to his chest.

“This is an all-too-common occurrence.” Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott said in a statement. “The safety and well-being of our agents remains our top priority, and we will work diligently with our law enforcement partners to bring the assailant to justice.”

TSA Failures Undermine Passenger Safety on Airplanes

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

From missing weapons carried onto commercial aircraft by travelers to poor vetting and training of airport screeners, the TSA is failing in its mission “in many ways” to keep flyers safe, argues The Hill opinion contributor Martin Schwartz.

For one, the Homeland Security Inspector General found that TSA missed 95% of weapons carried onto airplanes by undercover investigators.

Since the agency is failing to prevent many travelers from carrying forbidden items onto airplanes, the TSA announced it plans to increase highly intrusive personal frisks of passengers.

The TSA also has failed to fully deploy the nearly foolproof full-body scanners.

The agency’s high-level supervisors also have been fired for poor performance, which trickles down to the rank and file.

This comes at a time when a record number of travelers are caught with weapons, especially firearms.

“For an agency that must deal with the public every day at transit facilities, and that has existed for well over a decade, this is an inexcusable record of failure,” Schwartz wrote. “It strongly suggests that the TSA should be abolished, with its duties turned over to well-trained airline, ship or railroad personnel working under the direct supervision of specialized law enforcement professionals, namely officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).”

Trump Accuses ‘Deep State’ DOJ of Ignoring Clinton Aide Huma Abedin

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s attacks on his intelligence agencies continued Tuesday morning when he suggested the Justice Department is part of the “deep state” that “must finally act” to jail Huma Abedin, a top Hillary Clinton aide.

“Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others,” Trump tweeted.

Huma Abedin, via Wikipedia

Trump’s “deep state” comment suggests the Justice Department is composed of powerful interests working to undermine him.

Trump appears to be referring to reports that Abedin forwarded e-mails from her Yahoo account that included passwords to government systems. Millions of Yahoo accounts were hacked.

Australian Officials Annoyed That Trump Campaign Whistleblower Was Identified

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Australian officials expressed “annoyance and frustration” that one of their top diplomats was identified as the source of information that triggered the Trump-Russia investigation, according to the Sydney Morning Herald

In a bombshell report on Saturday, the New York Times revealed that the wide-ranging federal investigation was prompted by revelations shared by a Trump campaign aide at an upscale London bar in May 2016. According to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, he was told by a tipsy, boastful Trump aide, George Papadopolous, that Russia had political “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.”

Downer revealed the conversation about two months later, when droves of Clinton emails began surfacing online.

The tip was enough to prompt the FBI to launch an investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia to undermine Hillary Clinton.

Papadopolous has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.