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Archive for March 26th, 2018

Lengel: Whatever the Case, The Optics Stink When It Comes To The Firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testifies before Congress.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Was justice done with the last minute firing of ex-FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe?

I say no.

The public still isn’t clear about all the reasons behind it,  though the White House or some other people leaked a limited amount of damaging info. They said McCabe leaked information to the Wall Street Journal about the probe into Hillary Clinton and the family foundation,  then allegedly was guilty of  “lack of candor” when questioned about it. Lack of candor in the FBI is often an accusation that ends badly for the accused.

We don’t know much more.

Whatever the case, the optics stink.

McCabe had stepped aside in late January, before his March retirement date. He and FBI Director Christopher Wray and other top FBI officials knew the Inspector General’s report was in the works, and the final product wasn’t going to be favorable to McCabe or the bureau.

Ordinarily, McCabe stepping aside might have been enough to satisfy. But it was clear the White House wanted him beheaded, even if it meant doing so days before his official retirement and days before he would become eligible to collect a pension.

Did McCabe do something wrong? Officials obviously say yes. And in fact, that may be the case. We haven’t seen the report.

But McCabe says no, writing in an Op-ed piece in the Washington Post: “I did not knowingly mislead or lie to investigators….I answered questions as completely and accurately as I could. And when I realized that some of my answers were not fully accurate or may have been misunderstood, I took the initiative to correct them.”

Even if McCabe did wrong, the way this has all been handled is wrong.

Normally, under such circumstances, an agent or official accused of wrongdoing internally would be given weeks, if not months, to prepare a rebuttal to defend themselves.

That wasn’t done in this case. It was days — barely, just to make sure he didn’t cross the finish line with full pension in hand.

Director Wray insists everything is being done by the book in the bureau, and that politics was not involved in the decision involving McCabe.

Christopher Wray (File photo)

Let’s be frank.

First off, you don’t think there was pressure from President Donald Trump to have Attorney General Jeff Sessions fire McCabe? If Wray seriously doesn’t think that’s the case, perhaps we need a sharper FBI director.

Secondly, while Michael E. Horwowitz, the Justice Department’s Inspector General since 2012, enjoys a reputation in some circles as being totally impartial, not everyone agrees. Some privately say he’s very political and tries to tailor his reports to what some insiders in the Beltway want.

Then there’s Attorney General Sessions, who told Congress he would recuse himself of anything to do with the Clinton investigation. And here he is, firing McCabe for something tied to that probe.

Not everyone loved McCabe. Known as being sharp, intelligent and ambitious, some also thought he could be arrogant. I’m also told some agents were happy to see him get the ax. But he also had his fans.

Whatever the case, I have a suggestion.

People who think this mess was handled properly need to stand outside the Department of Justice at 950 Pennsylvania NW, look at the sign and take notice of the word “Justice.”

It’s not just a word. It really does mean something.

 

U.S. Investigators Discovered DNC Hacker Was a Russian Intelligence Operative

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The hacker Guccifer 2.0, who claimed responsibility for providing WikiLeaks with stolen e-mails from the Democratic National Committee, has been identified as a Russian intelligence operative, according to a new report.

Guccifer inadvertently revealed his identity after failing to disguise his IP address by activating a virtual private network – VPN, the Daily Beast reports

That enabled U.S. investigators to capture the Moscow IP address in the logs of a U.S. social media company and track down the hacker’s identity.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election has netted indictments against 13 Russians and three Russian companies, has taken over the Guccifer probe.

U.S. intelligence agency suspected Guccifer was a Russian military operation at least as early as January 2017.

Trump’s Legal Team Shrinks As Mueller Investigation inches Closer

President Trump at the White House, via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s team of lawyers continues to shrink as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation inches closer to the president.

Trump opted against hiring two lawyers whose appointments were announced less than a week ago.

“The president is disappointed that conflicts prevent Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing from joining the president’s special counsel legal team,” Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said in a statement to the New York Times. “However, those conflicts do not prevent them from assisting the president in other legal matters. The president looks forward to working with them.”

The conflict stems from Toensing’s representation of Mark Corallo, the former spokesman for Trump’s legal team who told investigators he believed Trump aide, Hope Hicks, may have been trying to hide evidence related to a secret meeting between a Russian lawyer and campaign aides, including Donald Trump Jr.

DiGenova and Toensing are married.

Also last week, Trump’s top lawyer in the special counsel probe, John Dowd, quit after the president ramped up his rhetoric against Mueller.

Trump denied reports over the weekend that he was having trouble finding attorneys willing to represent him.

“Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case…don’t believe the Fake News narrative that it is hard to find a lawyer who wants to take this on. Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted. Problem is that a new lawyer or law firm will take months to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more), which is unfair to our great country – and I am very happy with my existing team. Besides, there was NO COLLUSION with Russia, except by Crooked Hillary and the Dems!” Trump tweeted Sunday.

$130,000 Payment to Stormy Daniels May Have Violated Campaign Finance Laws

Stormy Daniels speaks out on “60 Minutes.”

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Hush money paid to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels may have amounted to an illegal campaign contribution to Donald Trump’s campaign, according to  Trevor Potter, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, previously acknowledged he used $130,000 of his own money to pay Daniels keep quiet about an alleged 2006 affair with Trump.

Potter told Anderson Cooper in a “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday that the payment may have violated campaign-finance laws. 

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Trump’s campaign and his time in office, could take up the issue.

“The payment of the money just creates an enormous legal mess for, I think, Trump, for Cohen and anyone else who was involved in this in the campaign,” Potter said.

Fired FBI Deputy Director McCabe Denies Wrongdoing, Speaks of Trump’s ‘Cruelty’

Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe spoke out about his termination, denying in a Washington Post op-ed that he did anything wrong. 

“Not in my worst nightmares did I ever dream my FBI career would end this way,” McCabe wrote. 

McCabe denied Justice Department allegations of “lack of candor,” saying, “That is not true. I did not knowingly mislead or lie to investigators.”

He added, “I answered questions as completely and accurately as I could. And when I realized that some of my answers were not fully accurate or may have been misunderstood, I took the initiative to correct them.”

McCabe responded to Trump’s tweet celebrating the firing.

“I was sad, but not surprised, to see that such unhinged public attacks on me would continue into my life after my service to the FBI,” McCabe wrote. “President Trump’s cruelty reminded me of the days immediately following the firing of James B. Comey, as the White House desperately tried to push the falsehood that people in the FBI were celebrating the loss of our director. The president’s comments about me were equally hurtful and false, which shows that he has no idea how FBI people feel about their leaders.

Last week, it was revealed that McCabe had overseen an investigation into whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions committed perjury in congressional testimony about his contacts with Russia.

Sessions ultimately made the decision to fire McCabe for essentially the same allegations that the attorney general was accused of.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Agent Dies at 48 After Exposure to 9/11 Toxins at Pentagon Crash Site

Former FBI Agent Mellisa Morrow, via GoFundMe.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who was exposed to contaminants while working at the Pentagon crash site in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks died last week of brain cancer.

Special Agent Melissa Morrow, 48, who served in the Washington Field Office’s Evidence Response Team on 9/11, was one of the first responders after a passenger jet crashed into the building, KMBZ reports

The FBI said she came in contact with numerous toxins while spending 10 weeks combing over evidence at the site.

Because she was certified by the World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, her death was classified as a Line of Duty Death.

Visitation is scheduled for Tuesday from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Country Club Christian Church at 6101 Ward Parkway in Kansa City. The funeral will follow after visitation.   

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