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Archive for April 23rd, 2018

Flight Records Contradict Trump’s Alibi for Mysterious Moscow Visit in 2013

President Trump answering media questions on Air Force One. Photo via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump twice told then-FBI Director James Comey that a salacious report about him with hookers in Moscow could not possibly be true because he didn’t spend the night in Russia.

But flight records obtained by Bloomberg contradict the president’s claims and could pose a serious problem for Trump as the special counsel investigation advances. 

According to memos kept by Comey and turned over to Congress last week, the president insisted he was so busy he didn’t have time to sleep while in Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant.

According to Bloomberg’s reconstruction of events, Trump flew from Asheville to Moscow on a Bombardier Global private jet owned by Phil Ruffin, his partner in the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Las Vegas, the New York Times reported in January 2017. The plane arrived in Moscow at 6:15 a.m on a Friday and departed Russia at 3:58 a.m. on Sunday.

The records indicate Trump stayed overnight in Moscow between Friday and Saturday.

According to Comey, Trump was obsessed with discounting the “Golden Showers thing” and insisted he didn’t stay overnight in Moscow.

The allegations were detailed in a dossier about alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia by British spy Christopher Steele.

When Trump returned to New York from Moscow at 4:11 a.m. local time, he tweeted, “I just got back from Russia-learned lots & lots. Moscow is a very interesting and amazing place!”

Waffle House Shooting Suspect Used Seized Gun in Rampage

Travis Reinking is accused of killing four people after opening fire at a Waffle House in Tennessee.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The 29-year-old accused of killing four people in a shooting rampage at a Waffle House in Tennessee used an AR-15 that authorities temporarily seized from him after he entered a restricted area near the White House and demanded to talk to President Trump in July 2017.

The Secret Service arrested Travis Reinking for refusing to leave, and he was charged with unlawful entry. A few months later, the FBI and Secret Service worked with local law enforcement in Illinois and advised them to seize his firearms, Matthew Espenshade, assistant special agent in charge of FBI’s Nashville office, CNN reports

In August, the Tazwell County Sheriff’s Office removed four firearms and ammunition from his apartment and revoked his firearm authorization. The weapons were a Kimber 9 mm handgun, a Bushmaster AR-15 style rifle, a CZ-USA .22-caliber rifle, a Remington 710 and random ammunition, according to WQAD.com.

But sheriff’s officials later returned the seized weapons to Reinking’s father, Jeffrey Reinking

Authorities believe Reinking, who was arrested Monday following a nearly 34-hour manhunt, used the AR-15 style rifle was

FBI Continues to Become Whiter Despite Recruitment Campaign

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s campaign to integrate its predominately white ranks has failed to bring more African Americans on board.

In fact, a smaller share of the FBI’s ranks are African American than a decade ago, when black agents made up 6.5% of the ranks. Today, only 4.4% of the bureau’s 13,500 agents are black, even though African Americans represent about 12% of the U.S. population, Intercept reports.

Intercept wrote

“And that’s just the race problem within the FBI. It’s hard to diversify an agency that many still associate with the systemic surveillance, infiltration, and repression of civil rights activists in the past — and which maintains ample discretion today to target individuals and groups it deems suspicious based on criteria that all too often reflect their race or religion. The bureau’s efforts at reform, so far, have been mostly aimed at recruiting a more diverse force. But people of color who do sign up to join its ranks often find themselves isolated as they come face to face with racism and discrimination within the bureau, as well as with the bureau’s often racist and discriminatory policing.”

In July 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey delivered a speech at a historically black university and called the lack of diversity a “crisis,” pledging to reverse the trend.

A year earlier, Comey, in his “hard truths speech,”  declared, “The FBI is overwhelmingly white and male among my agent force. … I have to change the numbers.”

Some experts say the problem isn’t recruitment; it’s alienation.

“National security policies that the public should know about demonstrate racial and ethnic bias that make it hard for people to work there who are not conformists,” Michael German, a former FBI agent and a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice, told The Intercept. “The problem is that the FBI is a very conformist organization. So anybody who publicly criticizes the FBI is ostracized from the wider FBI fraternity – and I say fraternity because it is still almost all male, as well as almost all white.”

 

Ultimate Loyalty Test for Cohen Who Said He Would ‘Take a Bullet’ for Trump

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Michael Cohen, the president’s longtime personal attorney and self-described “fix-it-guy,” said he would “take a bullet” for Donald Trump and “never walk away.”

But that was five months ago. Now Cohen’s loyalty is being put to the real test after FBI agents earlier this month raided his office, house and hotel room, seizing business records, emails and other documents, including correspondence with Trump. Federal investigators also are investigating a $130,000 payment that Cohen said he made to keep Stormy Daniels quiet about an affair she said she had with Trump in 2006. 

The president’s lawyers and advisers fears there is the “strong possibility” that Cohen, who has a wife and two children, will flip on Trump. His cooperation could be very valuable to prosecutors, including special counsel Robert Mueller, because few people, if any, know the inner-workings of Trump’s businesses and finances like Cohen, the New York Times reports. 

On Saturday, Trump lashed out at the New York Times on Twitter and said, “Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!”

Trump Wanted to Know Why Two FBI Officials Still Had Their Jobs

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaking at a previous congressional committee hearing.

President Trump pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray to explain why two FBI officials still have their jobs after it was revealed they made disparaging remarks about him in text messages to each other.

During the same meeting at the White House on Jan. 22, Trump urged his attorney general and FBI director to dig up dirt on the senior officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, to discredit them as part of a broader campaign to delegitimize Robert Mueller’s investigation, which has cast a dark shadow over the White House, Vox reports. 

In a private meeting with Sessions the next day, the president was more blunt: Fire Strzok and Page, who were removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation months before the text messages were disclosed. The texts also poked fun at Hillary Clinton.

Some legal scholars cautioned that Trump is treading on dangerous territory because he’s already under investigation for obstruction of justice for firing then-FBI Director James Comey in May promoted.

Last summer, Trump’s attorney advised him that Page was likely to be a witness against him in the special counsel probe.

Democrats and some Republicans fear Trump is trying to justify firing Mueller by discrediting those involved in the 11-month-old investigation, which so far has netted indictments against more than 20 people and entities.

 

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