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Archive for July, 2018

Trump Threatens Government Shutdown If Costly Border Wall Is Not Funded

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump is again threatening a government shutdown if Congress fails to fund his border wall and strengthen immigration laws.

“I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!” Trump tweeted Sunday.

The budget deadline is September.

Trump said he would “shut down” the government if Congress fails to fund his proposed wall, which he initially said Mexico would finance – an unlikely scenario.

In May, Trump threatened “closing up the country for a while” if the wall was not funded by Congress. 

“They don’t want the wall,” Trump said. “But we’re going to get the wall, even if we have to think about closing up the country for a while.”

Trump shut down the government twice since he became president.

FBI Investigating Border Patrol-Involved Shooting That Killed Woman

KGNS captured video of the aftermath of the shooting.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating an alleged Border Patrol-involved shooting in Rio Bravo, Texas that left one woman dead.

The agency confirmed to KGNS a Border Patrol agent used a service weapon Wednesday after agents said they were attacked with blunt objects while investigating possible illegal activity. 

At least one round was fired at the suspects, killing 20-year-old Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez from Guatemala

One of the men detained in video captured by Texas resident.

In a Facebook live video, a woman named Martha V. Martinez is heard accusing agents of shooting and killing a woman while two men were detained near her home. 

The Texas Rangers also are investigating.

Weekend Series on Law Enforcement History: Ex-FBI Director Louie Freeh & Bill Clinton

ATF Agent Drowns in Alabama

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ATF agent Hugh Anthony O’Connor died Sunday drowning on the Tennessee River in Marshall County, Ala.

Marine patrol troopers say the incident happened around 5:40 p.m. Sunday near Painted Bluff in the vicinity of the Marshall and Madison county lines, station WAFF reports.

Authorities say O’Connor jumped into the water from a boat to help a woman retrieve items that blew from their boat and he failed to surface. His body was recovered approximately 100 yards downstream, the station reports.

ATF issued a statement on Facebook:

ATF is saddened to report the death of one of our own. We mourn the loss of Special Agent/ Certified Explosive Specialist Bomb Technician (CESBT) Hugh A. O’Connor. Our thoughts are with the O’Connor family and the National Center for Explosives Training and Research (NCETR).

Responses on Facebook included:

 Bill Atkinson: I miss you brother. You have been a good friend and mentor, and you had my six on a lot of PBSO-ATF Violent Crime Task Force search warrants and felony takedowns while I was a TFO and shared an office with you in West Palm Beach.Rest easy until we can join you someday- keep some Guinness and Jamason ready.

Cheryl Basham: One of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. RIP Hugh.

Matthew BlakemanWhat an amazing guy. Tough loss.

Court Battle Begins in Portland for FBI Agent Accused of Lying About Firing His Weapon

Robert “LeVoy” Tinicum

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

 The court battle began this week between the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, Ore., and FBI agent Joseph Astarita who is charged with lying about firing his rifle at Robert LaVoy Finicum in the moments before the rancher was killed by state police on a rural Oregon highway.

In opening statements Wednesday, the Washington Post reports, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Sussman told jurors that Astarita’s two shots were covered up by officers on the scene — and that aerial footage captured from two FBI planes will show officers picking up items in the snow near where the victim lay.

Defense attorney Robert Cary suggested to jurors those two shots could have come from Oregon state troopers as well as Astarita’s supervisor. “What does the government have?” Cary asked, noting that there were no other eyewitnesses or ballistic evidence, the Post reported.

Astarita has denied firing his weapon.

Man Arraigned For Assaulting FBI Agent With His Truck

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fugitive Cedrick Hill, 26, was arraigned in Atlanta on a federal charge of assaulting an FBI agent with his truck while attempting to evade arrest during an incident in January in suburban Atlanta. Hill was wanted at the time on federal drug charges, authorities said Thursday.

“The actions of this defendant were reprehensible, with absolute disregard for the life of our agent,” said Murang Pak, acting special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta office in a statement. “The agent was dragged for about a quarter mile at high speeds before the defendant stopped the vehicle due to the defendant’s injuries.  Our agent displayed tremendous courage and calm under fire during this very difficult situation.  Fortunately, our agent is recovering from his injuries and will have his day in court for this blatant attack on a federal officer.”

A federal grand jury indicted Hill on the charges earlier this month.

The incident happened on Jan. 5 when FBI agents located Hill in the foyer of a hotel in Sandy Springs, Ga. and announced he was under arrest.

Then, according to a press release:

Hill began to put his arms behind his back, but pulled away as the agent began to handcuff him.  Hill then allegedly ran through the lobby and exited the hotel with the agent in pursuit.  The defendant ran to his truck to escape arrest.  The agent attempted to stop him, and became lodged in the driver’s side door.

With the agent dangling from the door, Hill allegedly sped through the parking lot at a high rate of speed and hit another vehicle, crushing the agent at the point of impact and breaking his arm and femur.  The agent managed to discharge his service weapon with his free hand, striking Hill twice.

Despite being shot, Hill drove out of the hotel parking lot, crossed Interstate 285, and turned down an access road before stopping the vehicle and releasing the injured agent onto the side of the road.  The injured agent managed to call 911 and request medical care for himself and Hill.  The defendant drove back to the hotel, where he was treated by first responders and later arrested.  The agent remained on the side of the road until he was located by first responders.

House Committee Approves $5 Billion for Trump’s Border Wall

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s much-touted border wall is advancing to the full House of Representatives after a committee approved $5 billion in funding for the project.

The House Appropriations Committee voted along party lines, advancing the measure with a 29-22 vote.

The bill also provides a $3.7 billion increase in funding for Homeland Security, pushing the total to $51.4 billion; money for 400 new ICE agents; and $1.9 billion for cybersecurity efforts, The Hill reports

“It is outrageous that House Republicans have prioritized unnecessary funds for President Trump’s border wall and cruel immigration policies rather than fighting terrorism through substantial new investments in first responder grants or growing the economy and creating jobs through job training, making college more affordable, or research and development initiatives,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (N.Y), the top Democrat on the committee, told the Hill.
The $5 billion would finance 200 miles of a wall along the border with Mexico.

Trump has requested $25 billion to fund the wall.

“Globalization, cybersecurity, and terrorism are changing our way of life and we need to change with it. This bill fully supports our men and women on the frontline who work tirelessly to keep us safe. The bill also provides the necessary funding for critical technology and physical barriers to secure our borders,” said committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.).

Group of Conservative Lawmakers Are Trying to Impeach Deputy AG Rosenstein

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A group of conservative lawmakers are trying to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the top official overseeing Robert Mueller’s investigation of President Trump and his campaign’s role in Russian interference during the election.

Eleven Congressional members filed articles of impeachment against Rosenstein on Wednesday, claiming he committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, introduced the politically risky measure.

They and nine other Republicans allege Rosenstein mishandled the FISA surveillance of Carter Page, a former adviser to Donald Trump; a lack of transparency; unnecessarily excessive redactions of documents; and violating a Congressional subpoena, Newsweek reports.

Observers believe it’s incredibly unlikely that the lawmakers will get enough votes to secure an impeachment conviction. The measure requires a majority in the House of Representatives and two-thirds support in the Senate.

Rosenstein appointed Mueller in May 2017 after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey – a move that has infuriated the president and his supporters.