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Archive for June 18th, 2018

El Chapo Asks Federal Judge to Suppress Statements Prosecutors Claim He Made

‘El Chapo’ Guzman

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the legendary drug kingpin,  has asked a federal judge in Brooklyn to suppress statements prosecutors claim he made during his January 2017 extradition to the United States, ABC News reports.

In a court filing Thursday, his defense attorneys said that it is not clear whether Guzman had been informed of his rights, the news station reports.

“Federal agents questioned Mr. Guzman as he was shackled on a DEA plane on its way to New York and the agents did not advise him of his rights,” defense attorney Eduardo Balarezo said. “As a result, Mr. Guzman felt that he had no other choice but to answer the questions put to him.”

Guzman’s trial is set in the U.S. for September.

Tampa Bay Times Editorial: ATF Needs to Get Tougher on Gun Dealers

By Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board

File photo of guns, via ATF

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for policing the legal gun trade routinely goes soft on dealers who violate the law. This is not the only gap in the system but a breach that undermines the foundation of the nation’s gun safety protections.

The New York Times recently reported that even as federal investigators inspecting the nation’s gun stores regularly find violations of the law, higher-ups at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives routinely overrule them. They allow gun dealers who fail inspections to keep their licenses even after they were previously warned on the rules, according to records and interviews with current and former law enforcement officials. Of about 11,000 inspections of federally licensed firearms dealers in 2016-17, more than half were cited for violations, the Times reported — yet less than 1 percent of all inspections resulted in the loss of a license.

Many violations, as the newspaper noted, were minor: Stores made clerical and bookkeeping errors or failed to manage their records appropriately. But there were also many example of serious violations. One store was cited for failing to conduct a criminal background check before selling a gun. Another acknowledged it actively tried to circumvent the gun laws. One seller threatened an ATF officer; another sold a gun to a customer who identified himself as a felon. Felons cannot legally possess a gun. All were previously cited by ATF, and in each case, supervisors overrode the staff recommendations that the stores’ licenses be revoked. Allowing even one gun into the wrong hands could result in a tragedy. “We’re not selling ice cream here,” one retired ATF inspector said. “If you screw up, somebody can be killed.”

To read full editorial click here. 

National Review: Serious Problems at the FBI and Justice Department

By Andrew C. McCarthy
National Review 

It has become a refrain among defenders of the FBI and Justice Department that critics are trying to destroy these vital institutions. In point of fact, these agencies are doing yeoman’s work destroying themselves — much to the chagrin of those of us who spent much of our professional lives proudly carrying out their mission.

The problem is not the existence of miscreants; they are an inevitable part of the human condition, from which no institution of any size will ever be immune. The challenge today is the ethos of law-enforcement. You see it in texts expressing disdain for lawmakers; in the above-it-all contempt for legislative oversight; in arrogant flouting of the Gang of Eight disclosure process for sensitive intelligence (because the FBI’s top-tier unilaterally decides when Bureau activities are “too sensitive” to discuss); in rogue threats to turn the government’s law-enforcement powers against Congress; and in the imperious self-perception of a would-be fourth branch of government, insulated from and unaccountable to the others — including its actual executive-branch superiors.

To read the full column click here.

Rudy Giuliani Calls FBI Agents and Special Prosecutors ‘Wackadoodles’

Rudolph Giuliani

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In the past year, some people have questioned Rudy Giuliani’s sanity.

On Saturday, he was questioning the sanity of  the FBI agents and special prosecutors investigating President Trump, saying they should go to the psychiatric ward at Bellevue, The Hill reports.

“Instead of investigating President Trump, they should go to Bellevue,” Giuliani said.

He also called the investigators “wackadoodles.”

The former U.S. Attorney and mayor of New York made the comments in Staten Island while campaigning for Republican Rep. Dan Donovan, who has been endorsed by Trump.

Giuliani said the special counsel’s investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia is “made up of a bunch of distorted human beings who cried” when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election in 2016, the Hills reports.

“Ahhhhh we want Hillary,” Giuliani said of the FBI. “What’s going to happen? I need a psychiatrist.”

FBI Agent Peter Strzok Volunteers to Testify Without a Subpoena

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Now, this could be must-see-TV.

Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who sent anti-Trump messages to a colleague while leading the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails and Russia’s involvement in the Trump campaign, says he’s willing to voluntarily testify before the House Judiciary Committee or any other committee, New York Magazine reports.

The magazine notes that Strzok could expose more information about those probes.

House Judiciary chairman Bob Goodlatte was preparing to subpoena Strzok as part of the House investigation into the FBI’s conduct during the 2016 election.

But Strzok’s lawyer, Aitan Goelman, wrote in a letter to Goodlatte released Sunday Strzok was willing to testify without a subpoena.

IG Horowitz and FBI Director Wray Set to Testify on the Hill on Monday

Christopher Wray testifies during his confirmation hearing. 

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There’s more entertaining TV coming your way.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and FBI Director Christopher Wray are set to go before senators Monday to testify about the inspector general’s report that concluded that the FBI violated long-standing department guidelines and mishandled the Hillary Clinton email investigation in 2016, NPR reports.

President Donald Trump claims the report “totally exonerates him” when it comes to questions as to whether he colluded with the Russians in the 2016 campaign.

The testimony will be aired at 2 p.m. on CSPAN 1.

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