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Archive for January 29th, 2018

FBI Names Michael McGarrity Assistant DIrector of Counterterrorism Division at Headquarters

Michael McGarrity

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Michael McGarrity, who most recently served as special agent in charge of the Criminal Division in the New York FBI division, has been named assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters in Washington.

McGarrity joined the FBI in 1996 and began his career in the New York Field Office, where he investigated violent gangs, Colombian drug trafficking organizations and international money laundering networks, according to a press release. After the  Sept. 11, 2001 terrorism attacks,  McGarrity transferred to the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, where he investigated international terrorism matters.

Throughout his career, he has held leadership positions including:

  • FBI detailee assigned to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center
  • FBI’s deputy on-scene commander in Afghanistan
  • Supervisor of the FBI’s extraterritorial investigation squad in the Washington Field Office
  • Director for Counterterrorism on the White House National Security Staff
  • FBI’s legal attaché in Switzerland
  • First director of the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell, where he led national efforts to secure the safe recovery of U.S. nationals held hostage abroad.

Before joining the FBI, he was a prosecutor in New York and an economist for the U.S. Department of Energy.

He obtained his law degree magna cum laude and undergraduate degree in economics from The Catholic University of America. He also attended Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Senior Executives in National Security program.

Deputy FBI Director McCabe, Target of Relentless GOP Attacks, Steps Down

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testifies before Congress.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who has come under relentless fire from Republicans and President Trump, has stepped down a month earlier than expected.

McCabe joined the FBI in 1996 and quickly climbed the ranks, becoming the second-in-command in 2016. He briefly served as acting director last summer after Trump fired James Comey from the top job in May.

Trump and other Republicans accused him of political bias in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email use as secretary of state. Trump even claimed McCabe played an influential role in the bureau’s decision not to seek charges against Clinton.

The accusations began when his wife, Jill McCabe, was a Democratic candidate for state Senate in Virginia and received nearly $500,000 in donations from the political organization of Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend of the Clintons. 

The FBI determined there was no conflict because McCabe did not oversee the investigation while his wife was still running.

Still, McCabe has been the primary target of a campaign by Trump and other Republicans to undermine confidence in the top ranks of the FBI amid the Russia investigation.

It was revealed last week that Trump urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to pressure the new FBI director, Chris Wray, to fire McCabe. Wray refused and threatened to resign if he was asked to do it again. 

McCabe plans to go on leave until he becomes eligible for retirement in mid-March.

Trump Pressed Aides to Smear FBI Officials Who May Testify against Him

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump urged aides in June to launch a smear campaign against senior FBI officials after learning that members of his staff likely would be called as witnesses as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of possible obstruction of justice by the president.

Trump’s appeal to his aides came after former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee last June that he was fired by the president after declining Trump’s request to end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Foreign Policy reports

If true, it could strengthen Mueller’s case that Trump obstructed justice.

According to Foreign Policy, Trump targeted three potential FBI witnesses who could confirm the president tried to influence Mueller’s investigation. The FBI officials are Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Comey’s chief of staff Jim Rybicki and former FBI general counsel James Baker.

The president and his allies have spent months attacking the three FBI officials and claiming the bureau is tainted by an anti-Trump bias.

GOP Sen. Graham: Firing Mueller Would End Trump’s Presidency

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Republicans lawmakers were divided Sunday over passing legislation that would protect the special counsel investigating the Russia scandal, but Sen. Lindsey Graham warned that Donald Trump’s presidency would be over if he fired Robert Mueller.

“It’s pretty clear to me that everybody in the White House knows it would be the end of President Trump’s presidency if he fired Mr. Mueller,” Graham said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Graham, who authored a long-stalled bill to prevent the president from firing Mueller, was among at least two prominent Republicans who showed support Sunday for legislation to protect Mueller, who was appointed in May to investigate whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election. 

Democrats and some Republicans renewed calls for the legislation after the New York Times and several news outlets reported last week that Trump had tried to fire Mueller until the White House counsel threatened to resign if the president if the president moved forward.

Many Republicans are not supportive of the measure, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who said Sunday that a bill is unnecessary.

 “I don’t think there’s a need for legislation right now to protect Mueller,” McCarthy said Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet The Press.” 

“Right now there is not an issue,” McCarthy added. “So why create one when there isn’t a place for it?”

Senator Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, who didn’t see a need for legislation in December, has changed her mind.

“It would certainly not hurt to put that extra safeguard in place, given the latest stories,” Collins said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Memo Reveals President’s DOJ Extended Surveillance of Carter Page on Russian Spy Allegations

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A classified, highly disputed Republican memo reveals that the Justice Department under President Trump approved continued surveillance last spring of Trump campaign associate Carter Page because investigators suspected he was a Russian agent.

The New York Times, citing three people familiar with the document, reports that the memo portrays the Russia investigation as “tainted from the start” because it relies in part on research by former British spy Christopher Steele, who had been financed by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The memo, which Democrats claim contains “cherry-picked facts” to craft a misleading narrative, takes aim at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate possible obstruction of justice by the president and collusion with Russian to undermine the 2016 presidential election. Last summer, the president considered firing Rosenstein, who is overseeing the investigation that so far has led to indictments against four Trump associates.

According to the memo, Rosenstein extended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) order on Page, a former Moscow-based investment banker whom a Russia spy had tried to recruit, according to a 2013 investigation. Carter served as a Trump foreign police adviser until September 2016.

In the memo, Republicans alleges that senior intelligence officials abused the surveillance program to target Trump’s campaign as part of a political bias and failed to properly vet the application.

“The president has been clear publicly and privately that he wants absolute transparency throughout this process,” White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, said in a statement. “Based on numerous news reports, top officials at the F.B.I. have engaged in conduct that shows bias against President Trump and bias for Hillary Clinton. While President Trump has the utmost respect and support for the rank-and-file members of the F.B.I., the anti-Trump bias at the top levels that appear to have existed is troubling.”

The Justice Department declined to comment on this report.

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