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Archive for March 29th, 2018

Feds Reveal Alleged Direct Link Between Trump Campaign & Russia

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation now has what appears to be a direct link between Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

Former campaign aide Rick Gates, who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller’s team, was “directly communicating” in the final months of the presidential election in 2016 with a person who the FBI believes has ties to Russian intelligence, the USA Today reports.

The contacts were revealed in court documents in the upcoming sentencing of Alex van der Zwaan, a London attorney who had pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with Gates and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is expected to face trial this fall on numerous fraud, conspiracy and tax charges.

Prosectors allege van der Zwaan knew about the contacts with “Person A,” who appears to be a former Ukraine-based aide who had worked with Gates and Manafort and has close ties to Russian intelligence.

“Gates told him ‘Person A’ was a former Russian intelligence officer with the GRU (the intelligence arm of the Russian military),” the court documents state.

The White House did not respond to direct questions about the latest revelations but offered a blanket denial of wrongdoing.

“There was no collusion and we’re confident in that,” White House spokeswoman Sanders said.

DOJ Charges Minnesota FBI Agent with Leaking Records to Media

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former Minnesota FBI agent has been charged with leaking confidential documents to a news organization, becoming the first target of the Justice Department’s crackdown on federal government leaks.

Terry James Albury has said he was exposing “systemic biases” within the bureau when he allegedly gave a national reporter documents relating to assessing confidential informants and “threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country,” according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The Justice Department filed two counts that allege Albury unlawfully disclosed and retained defense information. 

An outline of the charges doesn’t mention the reporter or the news organization, but the timing of the alleged leaks coincide with an Intercept story published on Jan. 31, 2017, that accuses the FBI of aggressively investigating people deemed to have valuable sources. 

In a statement to the Washington Post, Albury’s attorneys said: “Terry Albury served the U.S. with distinction both here at home and abroad in Iraq. He accepts full responsibility for the conduct set forth in the Information. We would like to add that as the only African-American FBI field agent in Minnesota, Mr. Albury’s actions were driven by a conscientious commitment to long-term national security and addressing the well-documented systemic biases within the FBI.”

Trump Lawyer Reportedly Offered Pardons to Two Top Trump Campaign Aides

Trump’s former lead attorney John Dowd.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

One of Donald Trump’s lawyers floated the idea of pardoning two of the president’s former advisers who have been charged in the special counsel investigation of Russia and Trump’s campaign, The New York Times first reported Wednesday

According to three people with knowledge of the discussions, the lawyer, John Dowd, who resigned last week, broached the possibility of pardons while the special counsel was building cases against the top campaign aides, Michael T. Flynn and Paul Manafort.

The timing of the pardon discussions with the men’s attorneys raise questions about whether the White House was trying to influence Flynn and Manafort to plead not guilty. It’s unclear whether the president was aware of the discussions.

Down denied having the pardon discussions with the advisers’ lawyers.

“There were no discussions. Period,” Dowd said. “As far as I know, no discussions.”

Trump attorney Ty Cobb also denied the report.

“I have only been asked about pardons by the press and have routinely responded on the record that no pardons are under discussion or under consideration at the White House,” he said.

Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and has agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty and could face trial as early as this fall.

FBI Agent Who Died After Exposure to 9/11 Toxins Laid to Rest in Moving Ceremony

Former FBI Agent Mellisa Morrow, via GoFundMe.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who died of brain cancer after she was exposed to contaminants while working at the Pentagon crash site in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was laid to rest in a moving ceremony this week.

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. Doctors confirmed she was exposed to dangerous toxins while spending 10 weeks collecting evidence at the site.

“She fought this terrible illness with every fiber of her being,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said during the memorial service in Kansas City Tuesday. “Melissa said that when she finally came to terms with the horrible reality of it all, she had a decision to make, and that decision was to fight it with every ounce of courage and strength she could muster.”

Morrow worked in the FBI’s Washington Field Office before joining the bureau’s Kansas City field office.

“She was filled with pride to be keeping her hometown crowd safe from harm,” Wray said. “It meant the world to her, and that kind of work ethic –- that kind of investment in the work you’re doing –- exemplified the bureau at its best, and is all too rare in today’s world.”

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.

Other Stories of Interest

Stephen Colbert on Trump’s Attorney Problem: Hire Robert Mueller

Stephen Colbert, host of “The Late Show.”

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

“The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert, pointing out Donald Trump’s trouble finding a lawyer, offered an unconventional solution to the president: Hire special counsel Robert Mueller.

Colbert referred to news that former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal speculated that Trump dumped his latest two lawyers – husband-and-wife legal team Joseph E. diGenova and Victoria Toensing – because Mueller “may have told Trump he had concerns” that Trump was doing “something profoundly dangerous.”

Colbert said, “If this is true, then clearly the best lawyer that Trump has against Robert Mueller is Robert Mueller. I think, just for everyone’s sake, Mueller should argue both sides.

The clip is below.

Other Stories of Interest