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Archive for April, 2018

Building a Border Wall in Rio Grande Valley Is Fraught with Challenges, Potential Lawsuits

The Rio Grande in Big Bend.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Building a wall along the busiest stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border – the Rio Grande Valley – has proven to be much trickier than Donald Trump suggested during his presidential campaign. 

That’s because land along the Rio Grande River in this area is essentially a floodplain where construction is prohibited under water treaties with Mexico. Much of the land also is owned by resident and businesses.

The Los Angeles Times examined communities along the river and found that erecting a wall presents a monumental challenge fraught with potential lawsuits from landowners, environmental groups and even Mexico. 

Congress approved $1.6 billion in March to build a border wall and fencing along 100 miles of land in Texas, California and New Mexico. About 33 miles of that is in the Rio Grand Valley, where Border Patrol most needs the help.

But which border towns along the Rio Grand Valley get a wall is still unclear.

Israel Cantu Amador, who lives along the Rio Grande, said he’d rather see more Border Patrol agents than a wall.

“It’s nonsense,” the 65-year-old said. “Iron gates, wooden gates — they’re going to come through.”

FBI Interviews MMA Fighter with Ties to Trump, Cohen And Putin

Fedor Emelianenko

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI questioned a Russian mixed martial arts fighter with connections to President Trump, his personal attorney Michael Cohen and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Agents tracked down Fedor Emelianenko in his hotel room last week, manager Jerry Millen told the Associated Press

“The FBI came to the hotel looking to talk to Fedor,” Millen said, “and they were very nice, came in to speak with Fedor for a few minutes, spoke to me, very cool guys, and that’s all I can really say about it. Again, the FBI did come to the hotel, they found us, knocked on the door.”

Emelianenko’s connections date back to 2008, when he joined a fight league – Affliction Entertainment – that Trump had a stake. The joint venture folded after just two events for financial reasons.

The fighter also has been photographed with Putin, who has attended some of the 41-year-old’s fights.

Cohen served as the league’s chief operating officer. Cohen’s office, hotel and home were raided by the FBI earlier the month.

Comey Slams House Intel Report on Collusion, Says Trump Has No Credibility

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey slammed a House intelligence Committee report by Republicans that concluded President Trump’s campaign didn’t collude with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election.

Comey, who was fired by Trump in May 2017, also said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the president should avoid an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller.

“I have serious doubts about his credibility,” Comey said.

Comey, who is doing a round of interviews to publicize his new memoir, added: “Sometimes people who have serious credibility problems can tell the truth when they realise that the consequences of not telling the truth in an interview or in the grand jury would be dire, But you’d have to go in with a healthy sense that he might lie to you.”

Comey called the GOP-authored report on its Russia investigation “a political document,” saying the probe “wrecked the committee.”

Trump hailed the 253-page report Friday as vindication that the special counsel investigation is a “total Witch Hunt.”

Comey accused the president of “an effort to undermine the credibility of the investigation that the special counsel’s conducting.”

Dozens of Asylum-Seeking Migrants Stopped at Border, But Pledge Defiance

Border marker, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Dozens of asylum-seeking migrants who traveled more than a month from Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border are defiantly pledging to remain outside an immigrant processing center until they are admitted into the country.

Border Patrol officials alerted the migrants, many traveling with children, that they couldn’t be processed because of space constraints.

“CBP facilities at capacity at San Ysidro. They won’t be taking any more until space becomes available,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “At this time, we have reached capacity at the San Ysidro port of entry for CBP officers to be able to bring additional persons traveling without appropriate entry documentation into the port of entry for processing.”

But when space opens and “resources become available,” officers “will be able to take additional individuals into the port for processing.

The monthlong journey of more than 1,000 migrants began in southern Mexico near the Guatemala border. They traveled by bus, train and foot during, with many saying that were escaping violence and persecution in their home countries.

If migrants manage to get processed, they would be taken a detention center and interviewed by an asylum officer. But whether the U.S. plans to offer asylum remains unclear.

President Trump last week pledged to “stop” the caravan, but the migrants appeared ready for a possible showdown.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The RFK Assassination

House Panel Says ‘No Evidence’ of Trump-Russia Collusion, Drawing Scathing Rebuttal from Dems

Members of the House Intelligence Committee. Photo via U.S. Capitol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Republican-led House Intelligence Committee on Friday released a highly redacted, final report on its one-year Russia investigation, saying it found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to undermine the 2016 presidential election.

But Democrats, in a scathing rebuttal, accused Republicans of drawing a premature conclusion in a “a systematic effort to muddy the waters and to deflect attention away from the President.”

Trump seized on the report to amplify his assertion that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation should end.

“Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. ‘No evidence’ that the Trump Campaign ‘colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia,’” Trump wrote. “Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!”

The final report closes what has been a politically contentious investigation with little agreement between Republicans and Democrats.

Republicans did conclude Russia sought to sow discord ahead of the election by launching cyber attacks and propaganda campaigns on  social media.

The Senate judiciary and intelligence committees are conducting their own investigations, as is Mueller, who so far has landed indictments against more than 20 people and entities.

ISIS Sympathizer Who Attacked FBI Agent with Knife Gets 17 Years in Prison

Fareed Mumuni

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

An ISIS sympathizer who attacked an FBI agent with a knife and was plotting a pressure-cooker bomb attack in the New York area was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Fareed Mumuni, 23, who also was accused of trying to help ISIS sympathizers get to Syria, lunged at an unsuspecting FBI agent with a knife after feds arrived at his Staten Island home in June 2015.

The agent, Kevin Coughlin, decided at the last minute to wear body armor, which prevented the blade from puncturing him.

“I never met you. I never wronged you,”Coughlin told Mumumi at Thursday’s sentencing, according to the New York Daily News. “I never did anything to you, yet you tried to kill me.” 

Brooklyn Federal Judge Margo Brodie rejected the prosecutors’ recommendation that Mumuni be sentenced to 80 years, saying he wasn’t a ringleader and didn’t recruit others to ISIS.

Other Stories of Interest

Senate Committee Approves Bill to Protect Mueller’s Firing

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Thursday to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fire by President Trump.

The committee advanced the measure with a 14-7 vote, putting pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow the full Senate to vote.

Four Republicans joined Democrats to pass the legislation: Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

McConnell pledged last week to prevent the bill from reaching the Senate floor for a vote, saying there was “no indication” that Trump would fire Mueller and it was unlikely he would approve the measure.    

Grassley said Thursday “this bill should be considered by the full Senate,” despite the objections of McConnell, The USA Today reports.

“Because special counsel investigations only occur where there is a conflict of interest within the executive branch, special counsel investigations are usually matters of great national concern,” Grassley said. “And Congress, by exercising its oversight powers, can help the American people to have confidence that these investigations are conducted efficiently and independently.”

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